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Transport Committee slams councils for parking 'cash cows'

Date: 07 November 2013   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

The Parliamentary Transport Committee has called for greater transparency from local authorities surrounding parking enforcement, calling on councils to publicly report on where their parking revenues come from and how they are spent.

Following a report by the organisation on local authority parking, it has also called for a "grace period" of five minutes to be applied to paid-for parking tickets before traffic enforcers issue a penalty charge notice.

It also demanded a 25% discount on PCNs for those who pay within the first week of losing a parking tribunal. Currently, a 50% discount is applied if motorists pay within 14 days, but any price reductions are removed if the case goes on to a tribunal.

Louise Ellman, chair of the Transport Committee, said: "The use of parking charges and fines specifically to raise revenue by local authorities is neither acceptable nor legal. Yet there is a deep-rooted public perception that parking enforcement is used as a cash cow, so it's essential that local authorities apply stringent transparency.

"Annual parking accounts would allow the public to see how much local revenue is derived from the enforcement of fines, and what proportion of this come from on- or off-street parking charges.

 "It's right that parking charges be determined locally, but hard to justify fines that substantially exceed penalties for more serious offences like speeding. Central Government should freeze the maximum penalty charge and develop differential fines for less serious parking violations."