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BLUE BADGE ABUSE
An investigation into the growing and widespread black market in parking passes for the disabled has found that tens of thousands of motorists are using forged or stolen blue badges to avoid parking and congestion charges. The inquiry has discovered that thieves are selling passes for up to 1,500. Fakes change hands on eBay and thousands of disabled people are having badges stolen from their cars.

The Local Government Association says the trade is booming because motorists are greedy for the same privileges as the country's 2.2 million legitimate badge holders, who are entitled to park for free in disabled parking bays and can leave their vehicles on single yellow lines for three hours without penalty. Its inquiry has disclosed that cheats are using badges belonging to disabled people who have died. (Source:
Observer, Apr/07)

PULLING RANK
An off-duty police officer was given a ticket by a traffic warden for parking with two wheels on the kerb outside his house in Upminster, Essex. The PC ran inside to put on his uniform then called two back-up officers who dragged the warden from his van. He was arrested for "abusive, threatening behaviour" and later bailed. (Source:
The Sun, Sep/06)
PARKING TICKET DISPUTE
A reader has some documents with regards to a parking ticket dispute, together with video footage of the parking attendant at the time of the incident. The fine of 30 was paid promptly, however, the main dispute was incorrect time/date stamp on the attendants machine. It appears that the attendant was 'lying in wait'.... more >>>
       


ILLEGAL PARKING?

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Parking tickets and fines of up to 130 are being used to boost council finances in defiance of rules that ban them making money out of traffic controls. In the first evidence that local authorities are exploiting motorists to raise cash, Westminster council has identified parking enforcement as a source of millions of pounds of “additional income”. Westminster is extending on-street parking controls, has upgraded CCTV cameras at a cost of 825,000 to catch more motorists and set a target of 37.6 million in fines. The council has identified a 14million ''black hole’’ in its finances.

Local authorities are forbidden from using parking controls to raise cash, as the powers should only be used to manage and improve traffic flow. Westminster has set an “anticipated enforcement level” of 736,000 parking tickets a year. Officers estimate that the council will make 500,000 for every 10,000 tickets issued. Officers calculated that extending street parking controls from 6.30pm to midnight will net 5.9 million, increasing parking charges will raise 1.2 million and increasing the cost of resident parking permits will make 275,000.

Barbara Moorhouse, the council’s director of finance, revealed in a budget briefing note that council officers had been told to “look more closely at Parking and Community Safety to find further reductions (or additional income). The areas of Parking and Community Safety have been earmarked to contribute the majority of the additional 14 million”. Westminster, which has the second lowest council tax in the country, charges 130 for “more serious” parking contraventions and 80 for “less serious” ones. It charges as much as 4.40 an hour for parking.

Lee Rowley, Westminster council’s cabinet member for parking, defended the authority. He said, “Parking controls are a vital part of keeping traffic moving in the city. The council does not use parking to raise revenue, but it would be remiss of us not to budget for the future or take into account the full impact of any potential changes to any of its policies.” He said that the number of tickets issued had fallen by 42% in the past three years. The documents were uncovered by Paul Pearson, who runs the website
www.penaltychargenotice.co.uk. (Source: Daily Telegraph, Jun/11)


Millions of motorists could escape parking fines by driving away before the ticket is placed on their windscreen, after a landmark High Court case. Judges ruled that businessman Simeon Ademolake does not have to pay a 50 fine because the warden had not placed the ticket on his car before he drove off. Motoring groups hope it might put an end to the practice of "rogue" wardens spurred on by cash-driven targets trying to trap unwary drivers. They point out that a high proportion of tickets are issued as drivers return to their cars to find a warden writing out the ticket, yet insist on issuing it, even though the motorist drives off before it is fully written out and placed on the vehicle.

Mr Ademolake received the 50 fine through the post after he stopped his car briefly on a red route on Commercial Road in London's Whitechapel in June 2005. He disputed the charge and took it to the independent adjudicator, the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service. It ruled in his favour after he explained that the warden had not issued a ticket by placing it on the car or handing it to him but Transport for London refused to abide by the adjudication and instead contested it in the High Court, which rejected its case.

Transport for London said, "We issued this penalty notice in good faith following a contravention on a red route and will be closely reviewing the details of the judgment." The case means wardens will now have to put the ticket on the car or hand it to the driver for it to be valid. The number of parking tickets issued rose by nearly 20% in the last year to a record high of more than 3.4 million, according to the National Parking Adjudication Service. The rise has been driven by more councils cashing in after taking over responsibility for parking enforcement from the police, and swelling their coffers to the tune of more than 200million a year. (Source:
Mail on Sunday, Mar/07)


Parking bosses have acted quickly to close a loophole that allows drivers to escape fines by speeding off. New rules will allow attendants to fine motorists even if they drive off before the warden slaps a ticket on the windscreen. The change will come into effect in the autumn, when parking attendants will also be renamed civil enforcement officers. As long as wardens have clear evidence that a parking offence has been committed, they will be able to send the fine to the driver's address instead of putting it on the car.

Tim Cowen, spokesman for NCP Services, which employs wardens on behalf of councils, said, "Our attendants have used digital cameras to capture clear evidence in the case of parking offences for some time. Now we will be able to use the photos to prove that an offence did take place, even after a driver speeds off. It does not make any sense that a driver who waits has to pay the fine while one who speeds off does not. There has always been confusion among drivers on this issue and we were concerned that there was a risk to road safety if drivers felt they could drive an illegally parked car away quickly to avoid a ticket." (Source:
Mail on Sunday, Apr/07)


A pensioner who paid for "all-day" parking was fined, for parking all day. Stuart Fourt left his car in the Council House car park between 7.30am and 8pm, believing that it was entitled to stay there until midnight. But, on returning to his car, he discovered that he had been penalised because Derby City Council defines "all day" as being between 8am and 5pm. The city council admitted that the sign displaying the charges was confusing and said that it would be changed. But, three months after the 72-year-old first paid 1.60 to park, he is still waiting for his 30 fine to be returned.

A spokeswoman for Derby City Council said, "When someone appeals against a fine, it has to be fully investigated. This is the first time we've come across this problem and we have looked into the matter. We believe that Mr Fourt does have a point and the sign isn't exactly clear. We're currently reviewing the parking policy at the Council House car park and, on the first opportunity we get, we'll change the sign giving the information to make it easier to understand."

Motorists who have had the same problem will not be penalised. David Gartside, the council's head of traffic, said, "We'll look at possibly changing the signs so they're clearer. In the meantime, our parking enforcement team has been told not to issue tickets if the same circumstances arise." (Source:
Derby Evening Telegraph, Feb/07)


A man invoked the 1689 Bill of Rights to fight a 60 parking fine from Worcester City Council at a tribunal. Robin de Crittenden, of Willenhall, near Wolverhampton, argued the bill protects people from having to pay fines until convicted by a court. He said the challenge aimed "to put the politicians back in their kennels". The Bill of Rights dates from the reign of William and Mary, after James II was deposed in the Glorious Revolution. In part, it reads: "All grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void."

Mr de Crittenden, a retired business consultant, told the hearing at Worcester's Fownes Hotel that politicians and local authorities were trying to nullify the bill's potential impact on parking fines by calling them "penalty charge notices". He said, "This country is drifting ever closer to a police state. The public are faced with a vast money-making machine that is a disgrace to each of the local authorities. The Declaration of Rights provides I have an inalienable right to require that all and any legal actions undertaken against me be heard and resolved by a court of law."

A spokeswoman for the National Parking Adjudication Service said no previous challenge to parking fines using the Bill of Rights had been successful. She said, "There have been a number of cases where the Bill of Rights has been argued to refute liability for a penalty charge notice. None have succeeded and, as far as National Parking Adjudication Service are aware, there have been no applications to the High Court for Judicial Review of those decisions." (Source:
BBC News)


Special parking bays are to be built for speed camera vans in Derbyshire, following complaints they were parking on yellow lines. They will be built in Duffield Road, Allestree, near the junction with Ford Lane, at Burton Road, Littleover, at the junction with Constable Drive and at Station Road, Mickleover, near the Onslow Road junction. The three lay-bys, which are costing 4,500, will be paid for by money raised from speeding fines.

Rebecca Hampson, from the Derbyshire Road Safety Camera Partnership, said, "We are aware that in the past some of our vehicles have parked inappropriately. We are aware that people have not been happy about it. We hope by this, we are improving our enforcement of speed limits. This is a decision we took because of checks on whether we were complying with the government criteria."

Jon Pumfrey, accident investigation officer at Derby City Council, said the decision to create the hard-standing areas was partly motivated by an attempt to alleviate bad feeling. He said, "The vans need to be seen to be leading by example. The police are not above the law and they want to set a good example."

The hard-standing areas, made of concrete paving flags interspersed with grass, are being created specifically for the mobile safety camera vans, not for the ANPR vans. However, a spokesman for Derbyshire police said, "We would certainly look at the possibility of using the hard- standing areas if they were in the appropriate places."

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