Monday, April 05, 2010

PATAS puts TPT to shame ...

The Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS) is behaving in a correct and proper fashion when it comes to applying the law.

In this case a decision (left) involving an incorrectly marked bay sees the appeal allowed. The decision is so important (and recent) that I have decided to publish it in order for others to use it in defences against similarly, incorrectly and illegally marked restrictions.

Many readers of this blog and parking ticket appellants will have been frustrated by the Traffic Penalty Tribunal's (for appeals against outside of London authorities) attempts to 'dumb down' and subvert the legislation by attempting apply a concept that the law was merely 'a guide' and that a sign, any sign was good enough if 'no reasonable person could be misled.'

PATAS adjudicators appear to be distancing themselves from this 'offensive' stance which implies partiality towards the local authorities.

This is not how the law or the Operational Guidance to Local Authorities was written. The extracts below from the Operational Guidance is explicit ... and shames many decisions by TPT adjudicators. What, or more importantly who are TPT trying to protect?

Has TPT's adjudicators attempts to 'dumb down' the legislation been deliberate to assist local authorities?

Has TPT been aware that many local authorities have misled the Secretary of State into granting Civil Parking Enforcement powers by claiming that ALL their lines and signs comply with TSRGD 2002 and as such, if proven that was the case, the local authorities could have their CPE powers removed thereby affecting TPT's income stream (they are remunerated solely from PCN revenue at the rate of 60p per PCN)?

Is TPT worried that by applying signing law strictly as is required it could affect the decision of adjudicator Andrew Keenan which currently finds itself before the High Court?
Is the Department for Transport worried that they have attempted to support illegal signing and TRO activity by local authorities by failing to investigate complaints and, as such may be subject to criminal complaints?
As a criminal investigation is launched into Sunderland City Council's parking department one has to ask 'How much did the DfT know? Why, when they were aware that Sunderland was acting illegally did they fail to act?'

Let us hope the criminal investigation leaves no stone unturned, especially when interviewing the DfT and GONE officials whose emails referred to 'fraud' and 'illegal.'
Annex E (above) makes interesting reading, especially E5. Sunderland's CPZ ... the subject of the Judicial Review, covers the whole of the City Centre and is over a mile in diameter with hundreds of streets. Seems to be at odds with what is written in the legislation ... but they always knew that.
Perhaps questions need to be asked also as to why ALL the Senior Officers involved in Sunderland are no longer in post and the final one has opted for early retirement, leaving in September.


phil said...

Nice. Whats the case name for the PATAS judgement? Just might be handy for those referring to it in appeals.

Anonymous said...

I agree completely with what you say, I've been to TPt a couple of times over poor signage and non existent lines. Lost as it was reasonable to know not to park there. might as well scrap the whole system and just let parking attenfants stick em on everybody. I've also heard that some Cities are issuing rejections as a matter of course to see how determined motorists are. A really scandalous attitude to motorists from all concerned. Sadly many just seem to accept the word of the parking people that they are wrong and cant be bothered fighting. Very sad

Alan Stanton said...

Neil, I’m delighted to see this judgment which appears to vindicate things you’ve been arguing for several years.

In the London Borough of Haringey – where Ray Dodds and I are elected councillors – we found each error mentioned in this adjudication – with a few extra! As you pointed out to us, there were hundreds of streets with double white CPZ end lines, where there should have been single lines. Some boxes had one single and one double line. There were yellow lines galore without ‘T'-bars. We found single CPZ entry signs where there should have been pairs. And so on.

Ray and I heard the standard excuses about 'no reasonable person would have been misled'. Or the de minimis explanation.

Of course, it was really de mickeymouse. Eventually commonsense prevailed and we had a programme to inspect and correct all the faulty line & signs across the borough. But this was at least 18 months after it could and should have started. And with no apology given.

My only reservation about your posting of this adjudication is that the print needs to be far LARGER and clearer so everyone can copy and pass it on!

All the best,


Martin said...

Devon County Council and Exeter City Council also mis lead the DFT with their declation that all lines signs and TRO's were correct and enforceable, there are still thousands of errors in road markings in the maps produced in 2009 they applied for CPZ in 2008

Barrie said...

Wow, that's really concise and to the point. Well done Neeti Dhanani!

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