Friday, December 14, 2007

Beware the Parking 'smoke and mirrors.'

The Telegraph reported this week that the number of parking fines are set to rocket as new regulations, the Traffic Management Act 2004, will be brought before MPs before Christmas and which are expected to come into force by spring.

The 'rocketing' will be due to the fact that Parking Attendants, who will now be called Civil Enforcement Officers, will be able to issue PCNs through the post after simply 'observing' the driver committing a contravention.

Many people have been hit with 'phantom' tickets issued by unscrupulous Attendants ... and they are currently illegal and can be successfully challenged. However, it will be open season on the motorist when it becomes legal to issue such tickets.

One serious point in the article is the statement that "In a further blow to motorists, millions could also lose their right to an independent appeal under the shake-up ..."
The article goes on to claim that "Another key provision will allow councils to set up their own appeals machinery ..."

Beware the smoke and mirrors because it is not the case that the councils will be able to set up their 'own' appeals machinery. There will be no change but the implication from the article was that there would be. The 'independent' appeals service will remain, but it is not currently independent nor will it be in the future. It is the administrative function of the 'Joint Committee' set up using powers contained in the Local Government Act 1972.

Who is the Joint Committee? The Joint Committee is simply made up of members from the local authorities participating in Decriminalised Parking Enforcement. NPAS for outside of London and PATAS for the 33 London Boroughs and Transport for London.

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