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Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2006, 09:09 GMT
Parking tickets 'war on drivers'
new attendants
The new-look traffic law enforcers have been issuing tickets
Some 14,000 parking tickets have been issued to motorists in Northern Ireland, since enforcement responsibility changed last month.

The Department of Regional Development is now responsible for on-street parking, and it awarded the contract to a private firm, National Car Parks.

Ian Paisley jnr, DUP, said the company was issuing too many tickets and effectively "waging war" on motorists.

However, the Roads Service has defended the actions.

From the start of November, NCP began giving out warning notices, then tickets were issued from 13 November.

In the past month, some 13,710 tickets were issued - the equivalent of 571 per day.

The figure is twice the rate it was when parking was handled by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Tickets issued
3,329 in Belfast
1,070 in Londonderry
936 Enniskillen
826 in Newry
653 in Ballymena

Mr Paisley accused NCP of issuing tickets "like confetti".

"Within a month of these people coming into a position of power, quite literally, we have almost 1m made by this company on issuing tickets," he said.

"That's 34,000 every single day is made by this company. This money doesn't go back into our roads, doesn't go back into building new car parks, but goes to a private car parking company."

However, the Parking Enforcement Manager for the Roads Service, Simon Richardson, said the money from the fines went directly back to the department.

He denied that NCP or the attendants were paid commission per ticket.

"There is no financial incentive for NCP to go out and issue as many tickets as they can," he said.

Ian Paisley jnr
Ian Paisley jnr accused NCP of issuing tickets "like confetti".

"NCP get paid by the number of people they put on the streets. So if they put 100 people on the streets and they issue one ticket a day then they get paid the same money.

"If they issue 1,000 tickets a day they get the same money."

He said there were about 100 attendants on the street per day - working out at each attendant issuing six tickets a day, adding: "You would hardly call that over zealous".

On 15 November, the BBC reported that the number of parking tickets being issued had increased 153% under the new regime.

Figures obtained by the BBC's Nolan Show showed that on one day the new traffic attendants had issued 544 tickets.

Previously, on a normal day, police traffic wardens gave out 215 tickets.

Fines have also doubled to 60.

Hand-held computers let traffic attendants know who is a persistent offender.


SEE ALSO
Drivers warned of parking clampdown
16 Oct 06 |  Northern Ireland

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