Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Zoe Hughes Column: Transport Committee...Dunwoody v Herron

Zoe Hughes Column
The Journal
Wednesday November 16, 2005

Mention his name and it will send a shudder down the spine of any Sunderland City Council official. However Neil Herron seems to be having the same impact on clerks in the House of Commons - after they secretly changed details of a transport enquiry into parking penalties. Mr Herron is renowned across the North-East folowing his battle in Sunderland over its decriminalised parking enforcement system and wanted to share his indepth knowledge with the Transport Select Committee due to investigate the issue later this year.

They had after all invited submissions from interested parties amid fears that public perception could be damaged unless action was taken to "promote the legitimacy of parking control".

However it has now emerged the committee quietly amended its original press release inviting submissions, which had stated that £1bn was raised from parking "fines" changing it to say simply that money was raised from parking "charges" instead.

A tiny but telling change, but for Mr Herron it was a blatant attempt to get councils off the legal hook.

Mr Herron has now made a formal complaint to the committee, demanding they release internal communications over the drafting of the press release.

We can't wait for Mr Herron to come face to face with the committee's chairman - none other than Labour firebrand Gwyneth Dunwoody

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