Saturday, June 05, 2010

Aberdeen parking cases could invalidate £millions of Scottish parking tickets

At first glance the stories below seem quite incredible on a number of fronts. However, setting aside why or how the motorists accrued so many PCNs (often it is down to incorrect addresses or DVLA data) a number of questions need to be raised:

  1. Is Aberdeen Council irresponsible for allowing anyone to build up such a level of parking fines and then attempting (and succeeding in one instance) to bankrupt the motorist? It is understood that some of the PCNs go back more than three years.
  2. Why did Aberdeen Council ask the Scottish Government to give them Special Authorisation for non-prescribed bays when the TSRGD 2002 and the working drawings produced by the DfT clearly show the requirements?
  3. If the Special Authorisation was granted in 2008 for the unlawfully marked, non-prescribed bays then does Aberdeen Council accept that prior to that they were unenforceable? If so, have they expended as much effort into refunding motorists wrongly ticketed as they have in pursuing those with outstanding PCNs?
  4. Was a Scottish Parking Adjudication Service decision the trigger highlighting the unlawful nature of the bays?
  5. As Aberdeen has had to get Special Authorisation for non-compliant 1028.4 bays then this is an acceptance that such bays (with double terminal marks) are not prescribed and therefore not lawful. It follows that other Scottish (and English and Welsh authorities) will now be forced to suspend enforcement of such bays or apply to the DfT (in the case of England and Wales) or the Scottish Government to have their illegally bays Specially Authorised or be forced to correct them.

The Department for Transport now has a dilemma after previously refusing such requests.

Driver takes legal advice over ‘invalid’ parking fines
woman ran up more than £18,000-worth of tickets
By Lindsay Watling

A north-east motorist who ran up more than £18,000 in parking fines was taking legal advice last night after claims the tickets she was issued by Aberdeen City Council were invalid.
Claire Williams, 27, of Croftland, Pitmedden, is facing court action by the council after she ignored dozens of penalty notices.

However, leading parking campaigner Neil Herron, of Parking Appeals, said some of the tickets may be “unenforceable” due to out-of-date bay markings.
Mr Herron said to comply with guidelines issued by the Department for Transport, bays had to be outlined with a single white line.

However, the bays in North Silver Street, one of the roads where Ms Williams frequently parked, have a double white line at each end.
Mr Herron said this meant the bays were unlawful and any tickets issued would – technically – be void.
“You can’t break the law to enforce the law,” said the Sunderland-based campaigner.
“The council must comply with the law. If they haven’t, the tickets aren’t worth the paper they are written on.”

However, the council is standing by its decision to take Ms Williams to court, highlighting a special authorisation granted by the Scottish Government in 2008 permitting the continued use of the North Silver Street bays, even though the current markings are out of date.

A government spokesman said: “Scottish ministers have devolved powers under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 to authorise non-prescribed traffic signs and road markings.
“Following a request in 2008 from Aberdeen City Council, a special authorisation for the use of non-prescribed road markings in controlled parking zones in Aberdeen, including North Silver Street, was issued to the council.”

Mr Herron said the council was using the authorisation as an excuse not to update the parking bay markings and that similar requests from other local authorities had been refused.
He said: “They have been given an amnesty while they put everything right. The same amnesty has not been afforded to many London councils who are in a similar predicament. This looks like a firefighting exercise to protect the council.”

Ms Williams, who did not appear at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Wednesday when the council started its action to recover the unpaid fines, confirmed she would be taking legal advice, but declined to comment further.

Exclusive: Man ran up £17,000 of parking fines in Aberdeen
Businessman ‘made bankrupt’ over unpaid penalties
Evening Express
By Gavin Roberts

A MILLIONAIRE property boss in Aberdeen has been declared bankrupt after running up £17,000 of parking fines.
Hassan Nazer, 30, racked up £17,000-worth of fines over vehicles parked in Aberdeen’s Bon Accord Terrace.
Council bosses lodged a civil case at Aberdeen Sheriff Court to have Mr Nazer declared bankrupt.
Today, Mr Nazer said he was unable to comment on the case until the legal matters were resolved.
The row centred on parking fines issued to four cars parked outside Piccolo Pizzeria and Restaurant on Bon Accord Terrace.
It was understood Mr Nazer was not in the North-east when the case called on April 14 and was not represented by a solicitor.

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