UK & World News

  • 10 January 2014, 10:55

Parking Tickets: Five-Minute Grace Period Plan

A five-minute grace period for motorists who overstay their parking is on a list of proposals being considered by the Government to make parking enforcement fairer.

Many councils say they already allow motorists to stay for a few minutes longer before writing a ticket but it is a grey area which would be cleared up if written into law.

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said: "The Government is committed to reining in over-zealous parking enforcement and unjust parking practices. It is not fair to motorists and needs to stop.

"We have also recently launched a public consultation proposing a number of changes to make sure local authorities are not short-changing motorists and operate in a fair manner.

"These changes could see the end of CCTV being used for on-street parking, unnecessary yellow lines and the introduction of compulsory 'grace periods' at the end of paid on-street parking."

The proposed changes follow a report by MPs on the Transport Select Committee into problems with parking enforcement that give motorists the perception that fines are imposed simply to raise revenue for local authorities.

Chairperson Louise Ellman MP told Sky News: "People get very concerned when they're paying out penalty charges. Sometimes they think that they were misled and that signs were not clear.

"And often they believe that those charges are levied for the purpose of raising revenue. It would actually be illegal to do that so councils have to be much more transparent about what money they raise."

The Government is also planning to make signage clearer so motorists do not get confused about local parking enforcement rules.

Councils will have to prepare annual reports in which they reveal how much income they make from parking charges and fines.

They will also be reminded that parking fines are not a "cash cow" and should not be used to raise money for council spending.

Cllr David Simmonds, chair of the Local Government Association, told Sky News: "Local councils receive about 500m a year in income from motorists for parking and penalty charges, all of which is spent on roads and transport.

"The Treasury received about 45bn a year in taxes from motorists, of which about 10bn goes back into transport, so it's pretty clear that the taxpayer isn't getting as great a deal from central government as they are from local government."

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