Thursday, August 24, 2006

Letter to Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council...Suspend your DPE Parking Regime Immediately

If your local authority has not yet suspended its DPE operation and is continuing issuing PCNs which do not have a date of notice and a date of contravention then please feel free to copy the letter below.
This letter is only applicable to Local Authorities outside London. There will be a similar one made available for London Boroughs who still do not comply, however, it is understood that there is a state of panic in those which still have non-compliant PCNs following the advice issued by Nick Lester of the Association of London Government.

It is essential now that there is full scrutiny of both adjudication bodies (NPAS and PATAS) who have exhibited such crass incompetence that it beggars belief.
The Penalty Charge Notice is THE primary piece of evidence and there is no excuse for the continued failure by the adjudicators to recognise non-compliant PCNs.
I have just taken a call from someone who lost an appeal against Camden Council on 12th August 2006, some ten days after the High Court ruling...the adjudicator never looked at the validity of the PCN!

Mrs. Sheila Jackson
Parking Services Manager
Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council
Town Hall
Victoria Square

24th August 2006

Dear Mrs. Jackson,

I have just been forwarded a Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council Penalty Charge Notice.

I wish to put you on notice that your Penalty Charge Notices do not comply with the requirements of Section 66(3) of the 1991 Road Traffic Act and request that you suspend your Decriminalised Parking Enforcement operation immediately until you have corrected this fundamental error.

It is a requirement of the Act for two dates (notice and contravention).

In the recent case heard before Justice Jackson on 1st August 2006 (Moses v Barnet) the Judge mentioned in his judgment that the requirement of the two dates had been mentioned by adjudicators on more than one occasion.

He emphasised that the statutory requirement of the form of the PCN were simple and clear - compliance was not difficult and a specimen had been available for more than 10 years. Enforcing authorities therefore had no excuse for non-compliance.

He deemed non-compliant PCNs a nullity.

I would be grateful for answers to the following (please treat as a Freedom of Information Request wherever necessary):

1. Can you please confirm that Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council will suspend enforcement of its DPE regime forthwith?
Can you confirm that Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council will not pursue ANY outstanding PCNs which are incorrectly worded and will withdraw any bailiff's actions?
2. Please confirm the date Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council received the National Parking Adjudication Service Circular MacArthur v Bury (BC 188) regarding the wording of PCNs and why the PCNs were not altered then and the contents of the circular not acted upon?
3. What does Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council intend to do with regard to non-compliant PCNs issued which have been paid?
4. Can you please advise as to the number and value of PCNs which have been issued since the inception of DPE which do not bear the two dates described above?
5. Can you please advise as to the number of Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council PCNs that have gone before the National Parking Adjudication Service?
6. Do you intend to challenge the competence of the National Parking Adjudication Service who have similarly failed to identify the flaws in the Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council PCNs, the most fundamental piece of evidence in the whole process, despite, in the words of Justice Jackson, 'a specimen being available for more than 10 years'?
7. Can you detail the amount of money paid to the National Parking Adjudication Service by Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council since the inception of DPE?

I appreciate the enormity of the task of suspending DPE but as non-compliant PCNs have been declared a nullity by the High Court any attempt to continue to enforce using such unlawful documents is a very serious matter indeed and may lead to formal complaints of Misfeasance / Misconduct in Public Office being made to the Police and complaints of maladministration to the Local Government Ombudsman.

I trust I will receive a reply by return to the main points raised as the matter is most certainly in the public interest.
Please confirm receipt of this e-mail and confirm that a copy will be forwarded to elected members and the Chief Executive.

Yours sincerely,
Neil Herron
12 Frederick Street
SunderlandSR1 1NA
Tel. 0191 565 7143
copy to: Paul Keaveny, Bolton Evening News
copy to: Caroline Sheppard, Chief Parking Adjudicator, National Parking Adjudication Service.

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