Thursday, October 28, 2010

Parking fines could be the highest in UK under new plans by county council

This is where the 'kite-flying' began.

The Lincolnshire Echo
26th October 2010

Motorists could soon be fined £80 for parking misdemeanours under new proposals by Lincolnshire County Council.

Motorists caught parking illegally in Lincolnshire could soon be paying the highest fines in the UK under new proposals.

Lincolnshire County Council is to seek advice from the Deparment for Transport (DfT) on whether it can charge offenders £80 for parking misdemeanours.
The Conservative-controlled authority believes it would be the first in the UK to go above the current Government guidelines of £70.

County council officers are developing plans to take control of parking enforcement from Lincolnshire Police and say this penalty increase would save taxpayers at least £250,000 over the next five years.
Secretary of State for Transport Philip Hammond would need to give special authorisation if a formal application was submitted. But motoring group the AA believes hiking up fines to raise revenue for the council would be illegal.

County council divisional highways manager Brian Thompson said: "The Government has previously indicated that Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) should bot be financially detrimental to local authorities.
"As it stands, the scheme would currently result in a significant deficit for Lincolnshire.
"For this reason, we are planning to approach the Department for Transport to explore the possibility of a rise in the penalty to mitigate the costs entailed."
County council estimates suggest the cost of implementing CPE would be almost £1.5 million over a five-year period if it was to run it using its own staff.
Using an external company would cost £743,000 during the same time frame.

An application for CPE is expected to be submitted by the county council to the DfT by February next year.
AA head of public affairs and parking spokesman, Paul Watters, said applying to raise the maximum parking charge to raise cash was "against the law".

Mr Watters said: "Councils are not allowed to use penalty levels as a revenue-raising exercise.
"It must only be to deter drivers. The council is naive it it thinks it can set penalty levels to raise revenue."
Discussing the issue at yesterday's county council highways, transport and technology scrutiny committee, councillor gave a mixed reception to increasing the fine.
Mr Thompson said it would have a "significant effect" on finances.
He addes: "But it would make Lincolnshire different."
Conservative Councillor David Brailsford said: "I am going to suggest we don't go out on a limb. I know there are financial implications. but to charge higher in Lincolnshire than anywhere else would be extremely unpopular."

Independent Councillor Ray Newell said: "What is the argument against getting more money in from someone that is disobeying the instructions? This will either sink or swim. In the financial climate by putting this figure up it's more likely we will be swimming than losing."
But Lincoln Birchwood Tory Councillor Eddie Strengiel said the current financial climate provided its own pressures.

He said: " The current financial situation is a little bit sensitive."

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