Sunday, May 09, 2010

Definition of a CPZ ... and the implications of non-conformity

… and the implications of the Neil Herron / Parking Appeals Ltd. challenge.

At the outset of the decriminalised parking process, the then relevant 1994 TSRGD provided a variable definition of a Controlled Parking Zone.

The definition was provided by the Secretary of State for Transport in his direction 23(3) within TSRGD 1994:

(3) In this direction and direction 24, "controlled parking zone" means either
(a) an area
(i) in which, except where parking places have been provided, every road has been
marked with one or more of the road markings shown in diagrams 1017, 1018.1,
1019 and 1020.1; and
(ii) into which each entrance for vehicular traffic has been indicated by a sign shown in
diagram 663 or 663.1;

Being a ‘Direction’ of the Secretary of State for Transport, the constraints relating to the provision of ‘Controlled Parking Zone’ (CPZ), primarily that all roads must either have prescribed parking bays or, they are to be controlled by one of the designated parking restrictions were variable, under the powers granted to the Secretary of State for Transport by the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (the Act).

1 By definition should any area of highway be uncontrolled, there could not be a CPZ unless of the Secretary of State for Transport provided approval by site or area specific amendment to his direction.

2 It is my understanding that in the 2002 revision of TSRGD however, both the powers of the Secretary of State for Transport in defining and modifying what is or is not a CPZ have been removed.

The requirements for the provision of a CPZ have now been incorporated into Regulations approved by Ministers, to be precise it is now contained within Regulation 4 of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002

To quote: (we are only dealing with type (a) CPZs)
"controlled parking zone" means ¬
(a) an area -
(i) in which, except where parking places have been provided, every road has been
marked with one or more of the road markings shown in diagrams 1017, 1018.1,
1019 and 1020.1; and
(ii) into which each entrance for vehicular traffic has been indicated by the sign
shown in diagram 663 or 663.1;

It is my firm understanding and conclusion that this current Regulatory definition of a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) is not variable unless there is a change to the Statutory Instrument, that the pedantic requirements are precisely constrained and there is no legislative or legal latitude for either error or flaw.

Extract from a Report prepared for Parking Appeals by Signing Consultant and Accredited Expert Witness Richard Bentley of RMB Consulting.

Therefore, if any area of highway is not marked with a single yellow line, double yellow line (or single or double kerb blips) or a parking space (which may be a pay and display bay, resident’s bay, disabled bay, loading bay etc.) then a Controlled Parking Zone cannot exist in law because of the precise constraints of the definition of a CPZ in Regulation 4 of TSRGD 2002.

The problem with this strict definition is that it does not take into account areas of highway within the CPZ which could be marked with School Keep Clears, Taxi Ranks or Bus Stop Clearways which are not parking spaces.

Furthermore, if any of the parking spaces do not comply with the strict and pedantic requirements of diagrams 1028.4 / 1028.3 / 1032 etc. then they too are areas of uncontrolled highway.

If the CPZ falls the the restrictions at each location therefore MUST be correctly signed in accordance with TSRGD 2002 to still be enforceable.

- A double yellow line can be enforced 24 hours a day seven days a week and therefore
remains unaffected.

- A parking space correctly signed (with upright plates showing the times of operation will
be similarly unaffected).

The main ‘casualty’ therefore is the single yellow line. If, the CPZ does not exist by virtue of the fact that there are areas of uncontrolled highway contained therein (School Keep Clears, Bus Stop Clearways, road studs, non-compliant parking spaces), then the single yellow line must be accompanied at each location by the upright plate (Diagram 639 TSRGD 2002 ... left) to be enforceable because the CPZ entry plates (Diagram 663 TSRGD 2002 of page) no longer have any effect (CPZ Entry Signs can only be erected to give effect to a CPZ)

The implications for local authorities across the country are enormous and potentially fatal to every Controlled Parking Zone in the country.
Initially CPZs were intended for small areas to allow the reduction in street clutter (and remove the necessity for the repetitive ‘639’ plates showing the times of operation of the single yellow line restrictions. The times of operation would be shown on the entry plates.

This was reaffirmed by the most recently published Operational Guidance to Local Authorities: Parking Policy and Enforcement especially at Annex E which states:

Local authorities however have seen CPZs as ‘cost saver’ and by simply erecting two 663 CPZ Entry Plates at every entrance to the zone the zones got bigger and bigger to the point that most motorists would not have a clue when they passed an entry plate and when the restriction applies. This all leads to increased confusion … and increased fine revenue for councils.

The problem is that because the zones got bigger so did the amount type of restrictions contained within … and because they were areas bigger than the legislators had intended they also contained Taxi Ranks, zig-zags, Bus Stop Clearways, road studs and unrestricted highway etc. not contained in the strict definition of a CPZ in Regulation 4.

Added to this, many councils have made fundamental errors with regard to the correct signing of the parking spaces and many have used unlawful hybrids (combinations of 1032 / 1028 series … and the Department for Transport have confirmed that such ‘hybrid’ bays are unlawful).

The Department for Transport has admitted (Roger Mackintosh in response to a question from Neil Herron at the Institute of Highways Engineers Conference in Loughborough September 20th 2007) that it is aware of the problem it has created with Regulation 4 and that are considering amending or re-drafting the legislation, but until they do it looks like that there may not be a valid Controlled Parking Zone anywhere in the country.
It must be noted that for a simple parking ticket case against a former market trader the defendant and interested parties are represented by the country's leading lawyers and the Treasury Solicitors have made submissions on behalf of the Secretary of State. The DfT's position seems to be at odds with their previous statements:

The extract below is from a presentation to local authorities and the Chief Adjudicator by officials from the DfT in 2004 (obtained under FoI)

1 comment: said...

Hastings Borough Council insist that a Special Parking Area exists in Hastings and St Leonard's, and not a CPZ. Sign 663 have not been erected and, never applied to DOT for their use.

The question is what is a CPZ and a Special Parking Area? Can the Borough Council issue valid PCN's?I would also like to point out that the Special Parking Area refered to covers a large area of a town, all roads being controlled.

Interestingly, East Sussex County Council, the highways authority refer to the area as a CPZ. Also Hastings Borough Council's parking collections department also refer to the said area as a CPZ.

Can the council issue a valid ticket when sign 663 663.1 do not exist, also no repeater signs at 60m intervals.

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