Friday, October 27, 2006

Burnley's Parkwise PCNs 'not compliant' NPAS rule

Reports are coming in of another victory. This time in Burnley ... but it will have implications for the whole of the Parkwise contract across Lancashire.

Here is the Lancashire Evening Telegraph's headlines from 31st May 2006

One-man war on parking fines
By Caroline Innes

A FINE-BUSTER who has won legal battles across the country today claimed thousands of motorists across Lancashire had been illegally issued with parking tickets.
Neil Herron, who has waged a one-man war against decriminalised parking enforcement, said the tickets were not lawfully worded documents and could be successfully challenged if they hadn't been paid.
Today the county council insisted its legal advisors said the tickets were valid.

But it said that independent parking adjudicators existed to allow people to challenge their tickets if they felt they had a case.
Mr Herron urged any motorist with a ParkWise Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) to contact him so he could consolidate all the appeals into one legal action.

So, Parkwise who claimed that their PCNs were lawful have had a slapping from the adjudicator ... and have been told 'no they are not.'

Well, we did warn them.

The situation now is this:

  • all Parkwise PCNs that are not correctly worded cannot legally be pursued.

I have just been informed by Parkwise that they amended their PCNs again on 9th October 2006. That means that before then they were not correctly worded. However, they are claiming that it is up to each motorist to appeal ... Sorry, no it is not. It is up to Parkwise to inform the motorist that their PCN will not be pursued.

Anyone with a PCN which is incorrectly worded can e-mail but can also make a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman should Parkwise or the local authority continue to pursue the PCN instead of writing it off.

If you want to see how bad their admin is click here

They haven't even altered the PCN on their website to include the latest series of incorrect changes. Even the NCP PAs patrolling the streets of Sunderland from Preston claim Parkwise is useless.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sunderland City Council's Coronation Street Imperial Blunder ...

The area below is another area of Sunderland where the businesses have been targeted by Parking Attendants over the past few years. A lot of car repair and motor dealers and small businesses dependent on customers accessing their businesses, but many are being driven away by draconian enforcement practices ... BUT help may be at hand.

The location is shown below ...

Do you watch Coronation Street?

Sunderland Council obviously don't, well at least not as closely as they should. This is not the Coronation Street but Coronation Street in Hendon, Sunderland.

Shown is a parking bay (for the time being we will set aside the fact that the bay is not correctly marked and has an illegal motor cycle bay in the middle) where I received a Penalty Charge Notice last week and again, another today.

Now remember, Sunderland City Council is the Council that famously prosecuted local greengrocer Steve Thoburn for daring to sell his bananas by the pound in defiance of the legal requirement (they claimed) to sell in metric, arising from European Council Directive 80/181/EEC.

The case attracted worldwide attention (see here) and the criminal conviction was taken to the grave by Steve who tragically died from a massive heart attack at the age of 39.

Now, the Directive also requires "Member States to adopt metric units as the primary system of measurement for 'economic, public safety, and administrative purposes."

In a Guidance Note (see here) issued by the Department for Trade and Industry it states:
"8. Public sector organisations are further advised that the continued use of imperial units as the primary system of measurement after 1st October 1995 - could render liable to legal challenge expressions of quantity in future legislation, documentation, etc. on grounds of inconsistency with the Units of Measurement Directive."

"20. Public sector managers should ensure that their staff use metric units from 1st October 1995 for all public sector business ..."

Pretty clear so far...

BUT and it is a big but, have a look at the Traffic Regulation Order for Coronation Street here

Item 451 Coronation Street states:
"The North side from a point 31.333 yards east of the easterly kerb line of Nile Street for a distance of 20 yards in an easterly direction."

So, the local authority that was hell bent on enforcing the Metrication Regulations using hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money to squash greengrocer Steve Thoburn is about to be hoisted on its own petard.

Coronation Street is one of more than a dozen TROs which are marked in imperial and therefore fall foul of the Units of Measurement Directive. However, as all these unlawful TROs are contained within the Sunderland South Consolidated Order the Order MUST be declared invalid.

A recent case of Isaacson v Bury
the adjudicator stated "It would be wrong in these circumstances (a legally unsound TRO) to try and cherry-pick the provisions that are sound and those that are not - especially when the interested citizen reading the TRO would have no idea which provisions might be upheld and which might not be."

Therefore, not only are they going to have to cancel my PCNs at the locations they are using unlawful imperial measures in the TROs they are also going to have to admit that they must refund everone else unlawfully ticketed at these locations. It appears however, that they are aware of the problem ... BUT are still ticketing!
We believe the amount of money involved runs into tens of thousands of pounds.

EU Unfit for Purpose...

If it was a company the Directors would be in prison!


So EU Court of Auditors report indicates

The European Union Court of Auditors released on Tuesday, 24th October it’s key assessment on how our money is spent.In a damning indictment of the Brussels institutions, the clear message of the EU’s very own Court of Auditors report is one of fraud, mismanagement and waste.

Click here to read the Bruges Group's analysis online

For further information contact:
Robert Oulds
The Bruges Group
232 Linen Hall,
162-168 Regent Street,
London W1B 5TB
Tel: +44(0) 20 7287 4414
Mobile: 0774 002 9787

Illegal Green Parking Fines

This latest scam has hit all the news wires.
What no-one has yet reported is that it is illegal under the 1984 Road Traffic Regulation Act for a local authority to make a profit from the provision of such residents parking places. A levy to cover the administration cost is all that can be charged.
There has been a case ... Camden v Cran before Justice McCullough 1995

Green parking fines a 'stealth tax'

A Conservative member of the London Assembly has blasted proposals to increase parking fees for gas-guzzling cars as little more than a "stealth tax".

Tony Arbour said Richmond Council's plans to introduce a sliding scale of charges for residents' parking permits were simply masquerading as a green tax.

The South West London assembly member added that if the council's leaders were serious about curbing car use they should withdraw subsidies and remove the car-parking spaces they make available to council staff.

He said: "As it stands, this is just another revenue-raising exercise. Tackling harmful emissions is of utmost importance, not only in Richmond, but also across London."

The furore centres on a pilot scheme, due to be approved next month in Liberal Democrat-controlled Richmond-upon-Thames, that will see permits for owners of the most polluting vehicles to park outside their own homes rise from £100 to £300.

Owners of cleaner cars will be rewarded with a discounted permit, while drivers of electric vehicles will park for free.

Richmond council leader Serge Lourie said: "Climate change is the single greatest challenge facing the world today.
"We can no longer bury our heads in the sand and pretend that it is not happening, or that dealing with it is up to somebody else."

The story is widely reported:

Council proposes link between cost of parking permits and - United KingdomThe owners of “Chelsea tractors”, people carriers and top of the range prestige cars face a threefold increase in the cost of their parking permits under ...See all stories on this topic

CO2 charges for on-street parking Channel 4 News - London,UKA London council is looking to charge a sliding scale for residential parking permits based on vehicle C02 emissions, a move that would see parking charges ...See all stories on this topic

Rise in resident parking fees BBC News - UKResidents in Richmond upon Thames face an increase in the cost of parking outside their homes. The council is considering increasing ...

Friday, October 20, 2006

NCP Cavalry on its way to Sunderland?

News just leaked from down south ( well at least a little further south than here) that NCP are sending their cavalry to the North.

Currently 4 PAs on-street today and only three available tomorrow...and ticket numbers are down by a massive amount ... but hey, this is not about tickets and revenue as we are repeatedly told, it is about safer streets and free flowing traffic. Well, I have just been out around the town and there are no blocked streets, traffic is flowing freely and the place is functioning.

It seems that a team of highly trained NCP Parking Attendants is on the way from Preston ready to hit the streets running on Monday.

Wonder where they are gonna park?

We will see if the story is true on Monday.

Bagfull of Letters in the Sunderland Echo ... "Clear out NCP Yobs"

Sunderland Echo Letters Page
20th October

Clear-out NCP yobs
A FERAL gang has taken control of the streets of Sunderland.
They seem to be above the law but are cowardly when confronted about their actions.
Who are these people?
Our parking attendants!
What a bunch of louts they seemed.All you seem to need to be a parking attendant in Sunderland in no common sense, a fag hanging from your mouth and bigoted attitude.

How they laughed at the racist banter! Such fun as they persecuted white van man in the small business owner!

I only hope I don't get my tyres slashed for writing this, as boasted by one of them who had been complained about before.

The shocking BBC documentary on Inside Out about parking enforcement in Sunderland left us with many questions but the most important one is this.

Do we really need to be in business with these people at all?
Sunderland Council must clear these yobs off our streets. No need for an Asbo, just end the contract with NCP today.
Michael Essl,

Parking battle
I WRITE with regard to the BBC Inside Out programme in which my name and image was used as part of the programme.
I had nothing to do with the criticism of NCP employees, although I was shocked at some of the revelations.
About two months ago I was approached by the BBC for an interview in connection with my long-running dispute with Sunderland Parking Services which began on May 4, 2005, when I found a penalty charge notice on returning to my car after visiting The Galleries health centre.

I had displayed my invalidity card but forgotten to display the clock card showing my time of arrival. I appealed on the grounds of my age and ill health at the time but was turned down flat.

Not wishing to face the possibility of paying a £60 fine I paid the discounted fine of £30 under protest and informed parking services I would carry on pressing for refund of my fine

My chance came in February 2006 when the press published an article which said Sunderland Parking Services had been told by the National Parking Adjudication Service that their penalty charge notices could be appealed against as they did not comply with traffic regulations, i.e., they did not show a date of issue.

The PCN in my possession did not show this information but despite various correspondence the council would not budge.

I went to the Ombudsman about six months ago for help and I have recently been told because of a judicial decision taken in Barnet the Ombudsman has taken legal advice on how this would affect my complaint.

The Ombudsman has contacted Sunderland to suggest that they reconsider their response to my complaint in the light of the judicial review findings.

I am now awaiting their advice.The BBC has apologised to me for the shortness of my exposure and my reasons, which was due in part to editing problems.

If they decide to do an expose on Sunderland Parking Services in the near future I shall be first in the queue, well after Neil Herron anyway. This gentleman has fought an almost lone battle for some years now against the bureaucracy and incompetence of Sunderland Parking Services and I wish him all the best.
Eric Brittain,
Harraton Washington

Our BBC report was fair and accurate
WE, like your readers, have followed with interest the response to the BBC Inside Out expose of the racist and prejudiced approach demonstrated by some parking attendants working for NCP in the city.

I'm more than happy to let the programme speak for itself -and our viewers and your readers will no doubt draw their own conclusions about the behaviour and culture filmed by our undercover reporter.

However, I am keen to rebut suggestions made regularly by NCP representatives and reported in the Echo that the programme was inaccurate, unbalanced or unfairly edited.
The programme was made with enormous care and careful judgment – following our own demanding guidelines for journalists and was rigorously examined before transmission. Undercover reporting allows us to expose behaviour that we would otherwise be unable to witness.

I'm confident that this programme was a fair representation of the approach and techniques of some NCP staff, witnessed by our reporter and highlighted an issue of serious public concern.
Jacqui Hodgson
Editor Factual Programmes
BBC North East and Cumbria

Hand it to police
I BELIEVE car parking enforcement should be taken over by the Sunderland Council or hand it back to the police.

The millions of pounds collected could be put to better use in the Wearside area rather than heading South to swell coffers of the NCP organisation.

The ruthless money grabbing action of the NCP have done a great dis-service to many small businesses in Sunderland. It's time for the NCP to go.

We deserve better
WHEN can the people of Sunderland expect the ruling Group within the City Council to be more accountable for the failures that have been highlighted in the city over the past weeks?

We had the embarrassment of Sunderland being highlighted in a BBC TV documentary about the behaviour and attitudes of NCP parking attendants working in our city streets.

Motorists in Sunderland have complained over the past two years about parking issues. It would appear that these complaints fell on deaf ears!!

The Queen Alexandra bridge reopened on October 12. Indeed the Leader of the Council, with other officials, appears in the local press celebrating this momentous occasion - not so much the momentous opening itself but the played down facts, namely that the work was almost £2million over budget and six months late.

As an Independent City Councillor for the Doxford Ward I wholeheartedly support the demands from the Tory Group on these issues.
Sunderland is a great city but the voters deserve better from those in control.
Councillor George Blyth,

It's a shambles
I AGREE wholeheartedly with Mr Neil Herron about the complete shambles of the present "Parking Enforcement" arrangements in Sunderland.

I personally had a battle with Sunderland Council Parking Department over a dubious parking ticket. I appealed direct to the Parking Department who turned my appeal down. I was forced to take my appeal to the National Appeals procedure.

During my appeal period I continued to get letters from the head of the council's Parking Dept. threatening me with bailiffs. Despite this pressure, which I protested about, I proceeded and won my appeal conclusively.

I had considerable correspondence with the Parking Department and the manager there did admit that National Car Parks did operate an "Argos points incentive scheme", emphasising it was not to award the number of parking tickets issued.

In view of the recent BBC Inside Out programme how could anyone believe that statement?I abhor the racist comments and the cracking of jokes about the disabled by the parking attendants contained in the programme.
No doubt the blame game and looking for a scapegoat will now begin.

None of these involved is free from blame, this includes NCP management, Sunderland Council and the management at the council's Parking Department.

I along with many others totally disagree with a private company being responsible for applying UK parking laws. It is obviously a mistake, an opt-out of responsibility by the council.Parking enforcement should be brought back under direct council (in-house). No other solution will be acceptable to the community.
F Connolly,Seaham

NCP Parking Attendant Arrested

On 27th June 2006 a gentleman from Houghton le Spring in Sunderland was issued with a Penalty Charge Notice.
Unremarkable as this was it became more remarkable by the minute.
The motorist had been aware for some time that the Disabled Bays had not been correctly marked and therefore did not constitute a legal bay at all.

He attempted to reason with the PA the PA stated: " It doesn't matter, and I don't know what the bay should look like anyway."

Mr. B immediately place dthe Parking Attendant under Citizen's Arrest for attempting to obtain money by deception. A supervisor was called.

In his statement Mr. B states that the PAs Supervisor stated its "A game, I know the bays are wrong and the tickets wouldn't stand up in court, but most people just pay them without checking."

The Police arrived and a Crime Reference Number 498 was issued by PC 2455 Surtees.

We are awaiting further information with regard to the progress of the criminal complaint, but the bays were re-marked (wrongly) and the money refunded. The Council are refusing to refund any monies already paid claiming the motorist should have appealed at the time.

This very shallow will not stand up to further investigation if it is revealed that enforcement was continuing in areas where signs were known to be unlawful.

Disappearing Sunderland Parking Ticket as major Road Safety Problem is exposed

Yesterday I parked my vehicle in Holmeside in Sunderland in a deliberate attempt to get a PCN to highlight the fact that NCP were issuing in Loading Bays which were illegally marked.
These bays are 1.53m wide ... and as you can see, they are not even wide enough to fit a car, never mind a van.
Parking Attendants report that the location has always been fruitful.

The legislation is quite clear and nowhere does it state that a loading bay can be as narrow as this.

Trouble for Sunderland Council is that there is no excuse as even someone with the most basic of signing knowledge will realise that you cannot create a bay that is not wide enough to fit a vehicle in.
The disabled bay and other loading bays in the same stretch are similarly incorrectly marked yet the Council have allowed NCP to keep enforcing.

However, there is a more serious aspect to all of this as Traffic Management and Sign Consultant Richard Bentley points out. In a series of photographs provided to Mr. Bentley he expressed his horror at the one below:

It can be clearly seen that there is a loading bay outsdide Lewins behind the zigzags. It is an endorseable offence to park on the zigzags and because the bay is not wide enough to fit a car then the motorist is being induced by the Council's roadmarkings to break the law. That aside, the zigzag affects everything from 'hedgeback to hedgeback' prohibiting parking because it is within the confines of the pedestrian crossing.

Mr. Bentley states: "There is clear evidence that this is dangerous and against the law and potentially has a major impact on road safety"

The Department for Transport became aware of this yesterday and I understand that a member of the Transport Team was despatched immediately from the Government Office of the North East to inspect the whole of Holmeside.

Surprisingly my PCN was removed sometime yesterday afternoon. NCPs Contract Manager confirmed at 8.40am that they had done so on the instructions of the Council. I am currently awaiting a call back from the Council for the reason.

Councillor Mike Tansey was so concerned at the potential safety problem that he went to take his own photographs (I must point out hat my vehicle was not parked within the vicinity of the zigzags) this morning. He spotted two officials measuring the road who informed him that they were from the Department for Transport. (It has since been confirmed that they were from the Government Office of the North East acting on behalf of the Department for Transport).

Perhaps now Sunderland City Council's cavalier attitude to line and sign requirements will at last come under serious scrutiny especially since there have been a number of very serious accidents in Holmeside over the past few years.

We are awaiting confirmation from a member of the public as to the exact date in February 2001 when the Government Office of the North East was informed of the problems with the two Pelican Crossings in Holmeside.

What Parking Problems?

What Car?

Dismay over UK parking 19 October 2006

• Government told to sort out parking mess
• Motoring groups dismayed at Government response
• Motorists were fined more than £1.2 billion in 2005

Motoring groups have reacted with dismay following the Government's defence of its parking policy.
The RAC Foundation and AA Motoring Trust both say the Government's response to criticism from the Transport Select Committee is poor. The Committee had blasted the Department for Transport for its failure to properly govern parking. It suggested a range of far-reaching changes, but few have been adopted by the DfT.

Read it here

Councils 'turning parking into a money making exercise'

Councils 'turning parking enforcement into money making exercise'
Publisher: Jon Land
Published: 19/10/2006 - 14:47:21 PM

AA accuses councils of turningparking enforcement into moneymaking exercise

The AA accused the Government today of a "weak response" to a hard-hitting report by MPs criticising parking policy and enforcement.
The Government had "squandered the chance to help tackle a problem that has made tens of thousands of motorists' lives a misery", added the AA Motoring Trust, which has criticised some councils for parking policies that it claims amount to cash-raising exercises.

Read it here

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Parking Meltdown following Government Response to Transport Committee's Parking Report

The Decriminalised Parking Enforcement meltdown continues with the whole industry, including the Department for Transport damned by this report.

The Government has failed in its duty. No-one seems to have the slightest clue how to even begin to put it right.

Where do they go from here?

Local authorities in chaos over maladministration and misconduct.

Motorists being better armed with regard to the law and the appeals process.

The independence of the National Parking Adjudication Service about to be challenged at the highest level which could bring the enforcement process to a standstill.

Complaints set to increase against the activities of the Traffic Enforcement Centre at Northampton County Court.

The only way laws can actually work is with the consent of the public. It is clear with DPE that this consent is being rapidly withdrawn!

Parking Policy and Enforcement: Government Response to the Committee's Seventh Report of Session 2005–06

Read it here

Leeds City Council Parking Regime ... Is it the next to fall?

As Decriminalised Parking Enforcement goes into meltdown across the country one Local Authority is becoming extremely worried.

Evidence of misfeasance and malfeasance is being collated by many with regard to the behaviour of council officers going back a number of years.

We now have whistleblowers from within the enforcement companies and local authorities passing on information of deliberate 'misconduct in public office.'

I tried to get a PCN in Leeds the other week but it appears that my vehicle had been 'tagged' and I was left alone. Try as I might I could not get a ticket.
Nice to know that various council officers are reading my site.

I suspect it is going to be too late for many who are desperate to put right what they know has been wrong for years.

It is the ordinary members of the motoring public who have suffered. Traffic Signing law for the man in the street is complex BUT it is not for council officials tasked with the job. They have no excuses, but many have taken shortcuts and disregarded the proper process and legal requirements.

It is expected that as evidence is gathered there will be many Police investigations initiated.

No-one is above the law ... and the public at the very least should expect at the very least that their officials obey the law. Perhaps by doing what we do civil servants will begin to have a reality check and realise that that is exactly what they are ... public servants.

MPs Metric Speed Muddle ... Again

It does concern me that global warming is being caused by the hot air generated when these buffoons open their mouths.

Journey times increased.

Speedometers non-compliant.

Distance signs to change. Get real.

Auto Express
18th October 2006

Speed limit cuts

MPs' metric move to cut limits

Speed limits should be slashed to just over 40mph on motorways, say MPs

And they've devised a cost-effective way of cutting legal limits on all roads in a stroke.

Nia Griffith, Labour MP for Llanelli in Carmarthenshire, wants UK speedsigns to be read as kilometres per hour instead of the familiar miles perhour - and 70kph on M-ways equates to 43mph.
This would cut the limits by two-thirds without having to replace a single signpost.

The radical call came as MPs discussed climate change last week. "A national speed limit of 50mph would make roads safer," said Griffith.

"And I suggest we interpret all signs in kph, so 30mph would be 30kph - around 20mph. And 40mph would mean 40kph, or 25mph. This wouldn't cost a lot."We all want our cars and the freedom to use them. But why could we notdecide to have a much reduced speed limit? Few people realise how much of an economy they can make by travelling more slowly, but at present they are unable to do that without feeling they are holding up other road users."

Backing the suggestion, Lynne Featherstone, the Lib Dem MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, N London, added: "This is a good idea, and it would be very cheap to implement; the ease with which ordinary people can do things and the cost of the proposals is important."

Meanwhile, MPs have been asked to vote on graduated speeding penalties without knowing what the final upper thresholds would be. The new measures in the Road Safety Bill have been debated in Parliament.

The idea would bring in fixed fines and points for different speeds. It's thought that doing up to 39mph in a 30mph zone would bring two points withup to 45mph attract­ing three.

Drivers travelling at more than 46mph would get six points.

But MPs don't know the upper limit over 46mph.

Brian Gregory, of the Association of Brit­ish Drivers, said: "It's absurd that MPs are voting without having all the facts."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A lesson to other Councils

I expect the pressure to be increased to follow Coventry Council's lead and show the same business acumen ... especially those areas whose businesses suffer because of the proximity of free parking out of town shopping malls.

Sunderland councillors ... just consider how much business is lost to the Galleries and the Metro Centre.

Free parking at Christmas
Oct 17 2006
By Kerry Beadling

SHOPPERS will get free parking in the run up to Christmas to encourage into Coventry city centre after councillors agreed the scheme.

Read it here

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

NCP and that Council Meeting last night

NCP Chief Executive Bob McNaughton at the Council meeting in Sunderland last night referred to an 'independent' report by Birmingham University and the Audit Commission which reported good practice in relation to the Sunderland DPE.

I couldn't quite hear him utter that NCP paid for it ... of course he never told the councillors that.
I didn't hear that two NCP representatives ( Ian Kavanagh, Head of On Street Operations for NCP was one of the two and was sitting next to MacNaughton in the Sunderland Council Committee Room ... and didn't mention that the 'independent' report involved his input) state that they were on the Steering Group.

It appears that the only Audit Commission input was in the fact that they too had a representative on the Steering Group. ( I have just been informed by NCPs Tim Cowan that the member of the Audit Commission, Robert Buchanan actually chaired the Steering Group although this is not covered in the Foreword to the report by the Steering Group).

Mr. MacNaughton must also have forgotten that Caroline Sheppard, NPAS Chief Adjudicator (remember that NPAS are 'independent') was also on the Steering Group...and that Councillor Joseph Lawson sat quietly without pointing any of this out. He is after all the Sunderland Council member on the NPAS Joint Committee.

So, it ain't roses that we are smelling here Mr. McNaughton.

I am sure that Sunderland City Council's Policy and Scrutiny Committee will wish to see the full report ( it will be made available) and the NCP press release which can be seen here

Oh, and by the way ... Bob ... your press release doesn't mention in the Press Release header that NCP paid for the 'independent' report and that two of your guys were on the very small, select Steering Group,
(NCPs Tim Cowan points out that the Press Release does state that NCP sponsored the report
"Commenting on the report’s findings, NCP Chief Executive Bob Macnaughton, who sponsored the report,") which I accept is contained in the final paragraph of the press release.

The Sunderland public is not very tolerant of deceit and duplicity, and the matters highlighted in the BBC programme gave great cause for concern, and there are still some very serious concerns that have to be addressed with regard to matters arising from the DPE operation.

For the record I must say that the first I became aware of any covert filming was at 7.s0pm on Monday 2nd October when I watched the BBC Inside Out programme.

Let us hope that the councillors were not taken in by Mr. MacNaughton's convenient omission on Monday evening.

In the interests of balance NCPs Tim Cowan's e-mail is listed below in blue with my response to him in red.


Your comments about the University of Birmingham report are a little selective, and wholly incorrect at one point.

The steering group was chaired by a member of the Audit Commission, and NCP has never sought to disguise the fact that we sponsored it – indeed, the press release you provide a link to also mentions this fact (this is the bit where your blog is incorrect, so I would be obliged if you could correct that bit forthwith).

Sponsoring the report did not mean we had any control over its contents; nor did the fact that we had representatives on the steering committee. As I mentioned, the steering committee was chaired by a member of the Audit Commission. I don’t know if you know much about the Audit Commission, but I can assure you that they would not have allowed NCP to control the content of the report even if we had wanted to.

In fact, we are very proud of the fact that we were able to help this groundbreaking report come about - we think it will be highly significant in moving the parking industry forward.

As the UK market leader in parking services, we feel we have a duty to lead the way, which is why we sponsored the report. The content, I am happy to say, was not our work, but that of Professor John Raine and his team. You will be familiar with him, I imagine, since he also advised the Transport Select Committee on their review of parking enforcement, a report whose recommendations NCP wholeheartedly supported.

I’d be obliged if you could reflect these comments on your blog.

Kind regards.

Tim Cowen
Director of Communications
Tel: 020 7290 2345
Mob: 07720 412 143


Sorry about the truncated e-mail. It left my system as I was writing it.
I will post your comments on the blog.
Perhaps it may have been clearer if the press release header mentioned that this was an NCP sponsored independent report. It simply says:
"An independent report launched by the University of Birmingham today [Tuesday 5 July] urges local authorities to put customer service and public accountability at the heart of their parking enforcement regimes in order to address the growing public discontent that is so widely reported in the media."
In the interests of transparency I will also publish the amount of sponsorship if you wish to indicate, although I do believe that this will come from the series of questions I have posed to Professor Raine.

In light of all the problems in Sunderland, and in the interests of balance may I suggest that another independent report is commissioned to see what has gone wrong with the operation and implementation of DPE? If we both have input there can be no accusation of bias.

I am quite willing to share my concerns, and have always been approachable. Despite everything my main concern has always been with the way that the local authority has behaved with regard to its TRO and signing failings, and in making the necessary refunds as well as the general handling of DPE. I did offer to bring these concerns to Mr. MacNaughton's attention by letter in July of last year and in an approach in December in the House of Commons Transport Select Committee.
I also repeatedly offered to bring all these concerns to the attention of the local authority and my deliberate collecting of PCNs in Sunderland was intentional to bring all these matters into the public domain and to a head.
As your PAs and manager will confirm, I am always polite and courteous and I offered on numerous occasions, all documented, to give sight of evidence of missing / incorrect lines and signs and problems with TROs in order for this to be passed up the line. It was a main concern that an ordinary PA could be implicated because of the failings of others, and I must say that in all my on-street dealings with the PAs, Senior PAs, Supervisor and Mr. Coatsworth and Mr. Gilderoy they too were polite, courteous and always professional.

The offer still stands and as the evidence of incorrect signs and lines grows the problems of issuing PCNs in areas where the signs are non compliant or do not correspond to the TRO will undoubtedly create further problems for any enforcement regime in the City.

Finally, I wish to offer an opportunity for you to put the enforcement industry perspective to the public so that we don't appear to be totally one sided. As you probably know, I have a regular slot on TalkSPORT and I am sure that they would welcome you onto the programme and we could share the calls in the studio. If you are in agreement then I will sort the arrangements.


Neil H

Department for Transport Freedom of Information Request

Anyone concerned with their Local Authority's Decriminalised Parking Enforcement regime?
Do you think that the Department for Transport checked your Council's claims in their application for DPE?

Sunderland City Council gave 'reassurances' that all the signs, lines and TROs would be correct and in force by February 3rd 2003.
The faults identified by the Consultants were never corrected before 3rd Feb. 2003.
At the NPAS hearing on 2nd October 2006 the Head of Parking Services stated that 'hand on heart he couldn't confirm whether they were even correct now' yet enforcement continues.

This is a further request to the DfT.

Ian Boddington
Traffic Management Division
Department for Transport
Great Minster House
76 Marsham Street
LondonSW1P 4DR

17th October 2006

Dear Mr. Boddington,

Freedom of Information Request

I would be grateful if you could supply copies of all communications (e-mails, letters and notes and any other documented communications) both internally and externally between officials of the Department for Transport, officers and members of the Local Authority (Sunderland City Council) and any other interested parties regarding the Decriminalised Parking Enforcement regime in Sunderland and issues arising from matters connected with the DPE regime.

This is further to my request of 18th October 2005 so will therefore include communications not supplied subsequent to that e-mail and communications from 18th October 2005 to present.

I would be grateful if you could acknowledge receipt of this communication.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Herron
12 Frederick Street

Tel. 0191 565 7143

More NCP Suspensions in Sunderland

Further fall out from the BBC Documentary. A quartet of NCPs hierarchy were present in Sunderland Council's Committee Room 1 last night following the screening of the programme in the Members' Room.
NCP Chief Executive Bob MacNaughton was praised by one fawning councillor for taking the matter seriously and turning up.
Excuse me?

What was amusing was the fact that NCP officials accused BBC of prejudice and bias in screening the programme. Although they had been filming undercover for weeks they only screened 27 minutes and it therefore wasn't really representative.

Although I couldn't see any straws next to the glasses and water jugs I was aware of a number of people engaged in clutching motions.

NCP did say they were considering a formal complaint against the BBC ... "but hey, they would never take it seriously and any complaint upheld would get scant coverage" someone remarked.

At one point the issuing of incorrect PCNs was termed 'noble corruption.'

Next time I rob a bank and give the money to the poor I could claimthat it was 'noble corruption.'

My advice to all concerened would be

... if NCP and the Council have nothing to hide, open the books and let the BBC in. Send them the minutes of all the meetings between NCP and the Council which took place every fortnight.

... tell us why the wording of the Penalty Charge Notices weren't changed by NCP until 4th and 30th November 2005 (on the handwritten and computer generated PCNs respectively) despite the e-mail from the Assistant City Solicitor telling you to change them 'without delay.' Perhaps then we can ask Sunderland why they processed over 12,000 PCNs that they knew to be non-compliant. Surely someone as high as the Assistant City Solicitor would have ensured that their instruction was complied with?

... we could also be made aware of how much NCP offered Sunderland City Council (referred to in the Council / NCP minutes of October / November 2003) to conduct a review of the signs and lines. Obviously someone (GM is referred to in the notes) was concerned...and remember this was only eight months after the commencement of Decriminalised Parking Enforcement and Sunderland had told the DfT and the Secretary of State that the lines, signs and TROs would be correct and in force.

So I personally would welcome a complaint about the BBC programme from NCP in order to have these points clarified in an open public forum... and where a great deal more evidence can be brought to the attention of the motoring public.

Perhaps we need a reminder of what Misfeasance in Public Office actually constitutes:

Read the latest press report below:

Sunderland Echo
October 17th 2006

More NCP suspensions threatened

TWO more parking attendants could be suspended and three senior members of staff investigated after an undercover TV probe.

Read the full story here

Should NCP Ltd run Sunderland's Parking regime?

Sunderland Echo is running an online poll regarding the Decriminalised Parking Enforcement regime in the City.
Click here and scroll down the page to vote here

Monday, October 16, 2006

Popular blog in Sunderland Council offices

Seems like the popularity of my blog is catching on in all circles ... even in the Council offices here in Sunderland.

What is unusual in this instance is that the posting which followed the Newcastle Journal's article regarding having two sets of conflicting Traffic Restrictions (TROs) in place for the same street.

It states:
"With regard to the comment on two sets of parking restrictions for the same street, it is a perfectly acceptable and proper practice to have two orders - one for the waiting and loading restrictions and the other for the parking places - relating to one street. The waiting and loading order will have in it, probably under "Interpretation", a provision removing the provisions of the order from those parts of a street where parking places have been designated in a separate order. Thus, there is no conflict "

What is unusual here is that it was very specific to my adjudication.

What is also very unusual is the fact that Sunderland City Council, despite the adjudicator's insistence against, submitted further evidence to the NPAS tribunal a couple of days after the hearing.
I objected to NPAS in the strongest possible terms but was told that the evidence had been forwarded to the adjudicator.

What is even more remarkable is the fact that the content of the 'extra evidence' bears a remarkable similarity to that posted above and shown in the link below.

The posting was made at 12.53pm can be seen here in context.

However, records show that my site had been visited by someone from Sunderland City Council some 37 minutes previously

October 16, 2006 12:16 PM xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Do you think we need the services of M. Clouseau to work out the connection?

New Speed Camera illegal? Bigger implications?

New speed cameras could be ruled illegal
By David Millward, Transport Correspondent
(Filed: 16/10/2006)

The latest generation of speed cameras which record number plates and take pictures of drivers could be illegal, a Government watchdog has warned.
Sir Andrew Leggatt, the Surveillance Commissioner, has said that new laws are needed to prevent the evidence the cameras provide from being successfully challenged in the courts.

Read more here

New device to be used against motoring 'criminals'

This is the future...more motorists captured remotely. More fines generated. Always denied in the first instance but who would have ever believed 20 years ago that registered keepers would be remotely fined by camera for their vehicle (not necessarily them in person) allegedly parking illegally, entering a bus lane or yellow box junction?

If you want to see the future for the motorist click here

Speed Scameras

Undercover probe reveals the 'buckets of money' made from speed cameras
Mail on Sunday
15th October 2006

Read it SafeSpeed has repeatedly stated this has nothing to do with road safety.

Is this the country you want your children to grow up in?

If everyone does not start to stand up to these insidious, offensive proposals and strike them down before they are given the merest oxygen to grow then the mad officials will most certainly have taken over the asylum.

Council workers may get right to impose on-the-spot fines
Sunday Times
October 15th 2006
David Leppard
Read it here
As more local authorities are getting caught out with the parking fight back they are now looking for another 'guilt trip' to justify a new stealth tax.

Public goodwill towards recycling and the local authority waste removal service is being restructured as a punitive measure to expose those who wish to damage the planet by failing to recycle ... thereby costing the local authority for their failure to hit EU recycling targets.

Just watch the environmental shroud wavers play the guilt trip and make anyone who doesn't recycle look fair game for the on-the spot fines. It's about to be rolled out across the country. Don't say you haven't been warned.

"Pay-as-you-throw is a real prospect, with cash-strapped councils viewing it as a potential revenue earner to rival parking fines. " Read it here

Friday, October 13, 2006

New ITV 'Driving Me Crazy' Documentary

ITV are compiling another documentary ... this one is entitled 'Driving Me Crazy.'

Their ad for the programme is below:

"Have YOU ever been issued an outrageous or unfair parking ticket.

Are YOU fed up with over zealous traffic wardens, ridiculous road regulations and sneaky speed cameras?

Or do YOU think that the parking and speed regulators have a point?

ITV want YOUR help to expose the issues that are driving you crazy!"

If you e-mail me with a brief summary and a contact telephone number I will pass the programme the details.

Manchester City Council and the National Parking Adjudication Service

Richard Paver
Manchester City Council
Town Hall Albert Square MANCHESTER M60 2LA
13th October 2006

Dear Mr. Paver,

I have just had a conversation with Susan Ray who has very kindly agreed to assist with an enquiry but it may end up coming your way so it may be best to detail a brief outline which I anticipate will lead to further questions.

I have noticed that as well as being the Manchester City Council's Treasurer you are also the Treasurer of the National Parking Adjudication Service and thus responsible for their accounts.

A couple of matters do concern me with regard to the relationship between Manchester City Council and NPAS who claim to be independent.

Can you confirm that Manchester City Council acts as the lead authority for the NPAS Joint Committee?

Is Manchester City Council responsible for any of NPAS' contractual obligations? If so, can you please detail which contracts and refer to any Council Meetings where this was proposed and agreed?

What other responsibilities does Manchester City Council have in relation to NPAS and can you please indicate where in the Manchester City Council accounts any financial relationships / obligations / liabilities are noted?

I would be grateful if you could provide details of the District Auditor and confirm whether this is the same District Auditor that acts for NPAS.

I would be grateful if you would acknowledge receipt of this e-mail and I loof forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Herron

12 Frederick Street

National Parking Adjudication Service 2006 Accounts

The National Parking Adjudication Service's Annual Accounts for 2006 have just been published.
You can read them here

Once you have read them click here and play the Flash video.

Now consider this:
  • the adjudicators are appointed by the NPAS Joint Committee (comprising members of the local authorities participating in the scheme) with the consent of the Lord Chancellor, not by the Lord Chancellor (as with the Congestion Charge Adjudicators)
  • the local authorities pay NPAS 55p per PCN issued
  • Manchester City Council acts as the 'Lead Authority' for NPAS and their Treasurer, Richard Paver, does the NPAS accounts.
  • NPAS' accounts are audited by the same District Auditor as Manchester City Council
  • NPAS employees pensions are contained within the Greater Manchester Pension Fund administered by Tameside Council
  • Chief Adjudicator Caroline Sheppard trains the adjudicators.

There is more to come but do you now think that NPAS is independent, given the relationship between the NPAS and Manchester City Council, or even compliant with Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights?

Once we start to examine the competence of NPAS and its adjudicators we can see that they were still finding in favour of local authorities who were issuing non-compliant PCNs post the MacArthur v Bury (May 2005) decision. Indeed, the NPAS website contained a PCN which had no date of issue some 8 months after the MacArthur Circular was sent round the local authorities.

Now the question needs to be asked ... "the money that NPAS had from PCNs now found to be non-compliant and being written off by the local authorities ... where is the money now? Is it going to be given back to the local authorities? What will they do with it"

The adjudicator in my recent case refused to accept evidence on the Article 6(1) but I introduced the point anyway (for the benefit of the tape) and a number of pieces of evidence. This avenue, and the local authorities complicity will be expanded.

We would appreciate any commentary on the ability / legality of a local authority to enter into contractual obligations on behalf of a third party (ie. acting as the lead authority for the Joint Committee set up under section 101(5) of the 1972 Local Government Act and any further information on the financial relationships between NPAS and other bodies.

I am aware that a Police investigation has now commenced in Sunderland and the NPAS aspect will form a necessary part of any evidence.

Remember that Sunderland City Council's Assistant Solicitor told NCP Ltd. in an e-mail of 16th June 2005 to change the wording of the PCNs (to include a date of issue) without delay. NCP did not change them until 4th and 30th November 2005 for the handwritten and computer generated PCNs respectively.

Over 12,000 PCNs were processed which Sunderland Council were aware were non-compliant. NCP issued them knowing that they had been told to change the tickets.
Sunderland City Council processed them knowing that they had told NCP to change the tickets.

Over 12,000 people suffered a direct financial loss as a consequence... and NPAS benefitted from this at the rate of 55p per ticket.

I think that matters are about to become a little more serious.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

National Drivers Organisation to be launched soon

Preparations are being made to pull together a membership organisation that looks after the interest of motorists across the country.

We will be working with specialists in all fields ... and we also have a nationwide network of transport / traffic lawyers ready to begin working with us.

Up to date news and cases will be reported and the latest legal information and case law will be provided to all members.

To date we have successfully exposed many local authorities acting unlawfully and this will be expanded to cover all spheres of the law that affect the motorist, including any necessary group and class actions.

It is always difficult for the individual against the system. What we are creating will establish an 'equality of arms' and with the support of an organisation the motorist will not feel isolated and will be able to benefit from the best advice ... all available on the website and through the helpline.

Our press and media connections will ensure that any motoring injustices are accurately and immediately reported and major policy issues affecting motorists will be confronted and challenged through political channels.

Our team will include experts in court procedures and bailiff law and will ensure that anyone suffering at the hands of bailiffs will know exactly what they are / are not allowed to do.

We have already had a fantastic response from taxi drivers organisations, road hauliers, disabled motorists groups, couriers, specialist car clubs and small businesses as well as individuals.

Just remember that 1 in 4 motorists will be hit with some form of penalty in the next twelve months.

Can you afford not to join?

If you would like to receive more information nearer the time of our national launch send me an e-mail to

Department for Transport anxiously watches Sunderland

It was the Department for Transport that relied on 'assurances' given by Sunderland City Council in their application for DPE.

There were no checks.

We are reliably informed that there are concerns which extend upwards to the highest Ministerial level of the implications of the Sunderland situation.

NCP Ltd are currently conducting their own investigation into the BBC documentary and the issues raised.

The Police are taking the issue very seriously.

In the documentary reference was made to NCP officials keeping a dossier on me, including photographs. My Data Protection Act information release request has gone into Sunderland City Council with regard to that dossier.

Meanwhile my car continues to be issued with PCNs.

As for NPAS, Kerry Colbourne the Appeals Co-ordinator has confirmed that the further evidence submitted by Sunderland City Council has been forwarded to the adjudicator.
I was told at the hearing ... 'no further evidence.'

Court adjourned for speeding cases

Motor Cycle News
Wed 3 Oct
Court adjourned for speeding cases. ...

TOP lawyers say that speeding cases can be adjourned in UK courts until the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has decided the future of Gatsos. Legal experts have already told MCN that they fully expect the Government to lose its case in the ECHR and, if this bears true, by adjourning the court hearing for impending speeding convictions they could be quashed forever.
The case in question, Francis v UK Government,was heard on September . 27, and the 21 judges involved in the hearing have retired to make their separate judgments. However, it could be at least a year until they
reconvene to declare their final verdict.
Speaking to MCN as he left the Grand Chamber from the ECHR in Strasbourg, speed camera martyr Idris Francis said: "Go to court and ask for an adjournment until my case has been decided. It's going to clog up the courts no end."
We asked expert criminal lawyer Richard EIlis for his advice on the best course, of action for those hoping to adjourn their case, he said: "You could ask a court to adjourn pending a decision. However, you can't ask for an adjournment when you receive an NIP because at this stage there are no court proceedings. A court hearing is only listed if you fail to return the form or return it unsigned.
"It's up to the court at the time and different courts might take a different view. You should always seek legal advice."
(note - I see no reason why any NIP recipient should not ask the police to extend the 28 dayperiod for a reply to the date the verdict is known, on the basis that if HMG wins, the information will be provided, and if not, not. The 28 day period is, after all, not sacrosanct and the police do routinely extend it in many cases, not least when they are trying to apply pressure to get answers Idris)

You hypocrite!

TOP cop Meredydd Hughes was exposed by the BBC's Newsnight programme for the hypocrisy of letting police officers off speeding fines.
Newsnightobtained evidence that South Yorkshire Police vehicles had tripped speed cameras -and the driver was not penalised because he could not be identified. The BBC asked for the photographic evidence under the Freedom of Information Act, but the force declined, saying it would be embarrassing for the individuals concerned.
Chief Constable Hughes then failed to satisfactorily answer why, if the individual could be identified well enough to cause embarrassment, they could not be identified to be prosecuted.
MCN asked Meredydd Hughes why a UK citizen was taken to the highest court in Europe because he refused to incriminate himself in an NIP and yet South Yorkshire Police simply writes off speeding tickets when a driver can't be identified.
Hughes declined to comment.

Notes - I believe Newsnight showed police discussing how not to prosecute one another, and wiping camera tapes. I was not taken to the ECHR - I took HMG to the ECR Idris

4% of accidents down to speed

OFFICIAL accident statistics published by the Department for Transport have confirmed speed is only responsible for 4% of all accidents. The Road Casualties in Great Britain is a comprehensive annual report that details all road accidents across the UK; including pedestrian and bicycle statistics.
The report says 'Failed to look properly' was the primary reason given for 32% of accidents, overshadowing speed as the most common reason for accidents on UK roads.
Captain Gatso phoned - MCN to give his reaction to the findings.
He gloated: "It's like I always said, speed doesn't kill but a lack of attention does."
Now the Government has debunked its own propaganda."

One rule for them, one rule for us

IF any of us are unfortunate enough to nip through a speed camera a little over the speed limit there is usually a wait and then a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) lands on the doormat.
Once you have this NIP, the procedure is clear for all of us - if, indeed, it was us riding the bike or driving the car. We fill it in, giving the details of who was driving at the time and then wait for the punishment to arrive either as points and a fine or a court appearance for more serious offences.
If, for some reason, you can't remember who was driving at the time, the usual procedure is that you will end up in court and get a huge fine for your trouble.
All of this is true and in keeping with the law -unless, of course, you are a police officer. Then you can just forget who was driving because the driving log wasn't filled in and then claim the driver couldn't be identified in the photo.
Despite some investigations the police force thenjust lets it all fade away with nothing done.
Imagine if the scenario was reversed.
"I'mterribly sorry Mr Policeman, I've taken myself outside and asked myself some pretty searching questions and I can safely say, I still have no idea who was driving."
As South Yorkshire Chief Constable Meredydd Hughes squirmed with embarrassment at the hypocrisy of his own force (see above) it was another hammer blow to the shambolic, dishonest, flawed and self-governing speed camera operation that does little for road safety but a huge amount towards raising money.
The sooner the government wakes up to the real facts of what affects road safety - poor driving standards, idiots on mobiles, unchecked drink driving andthe general ignorance of most people to' motorcyclists - the better.

High Wycombe Council in another fine mess

Click here

Parking bosses meet Asian leaders

Sunderland Echo
Tuesday October 10, 2006

Parking bosses and council officials have met members of Sunderland's Bangladeshi community over remarks made in a television documentary.
Five parking attendants have been suspended after NCP staff in Sunderland were filmed making racist comments and cracking jokes about disabled people on the BBC programme.
The workers were removed from their positions and a full investigation is under way.
Members of Sunderland City Council and executives from NCP, whose staff enforce parking rules in the city for the authority, have met and spoken with members of Wearside's Bangladeshi community following the programme.
The remarks were filmed as part of an undercover report for the BBC's Inside Out programme and showed one attendant describing slashing a man's tyres after he complained.
NCP took over parking enforcement from the council in 2003 but unions are now urging the authority to take parking enforcement "in-house".
Jacqui Gallagher, branch secretary of Unison, said: "We were against the transfer in the first place and, after watching the programme, have been appalled at the conduct of BCP attendants with their racism, comments about the disabled and their deceitful actions."
After the documentary Coun Bryan Charlton, who has responsibilty for community cohesion in Sunderland, said: "The council and its partners are as shocked as everyone else.
"These views of a tiny minority are not representative of parking attendants in the city."
"Many people in Sunderland have worked very hard over the past few years to promote good relations between people from different backgrounds".

PATAS faces another Bill of Rights Challenge

This time it has been submitted by a solicitor, Frank Rayner. The adjudicator has requested 5 weeks for consideration.

The appellants Skeleton Argument is listed below:

Case number.9060054726





1. The Appellant seeks to appeal against Transport for London’s rejection of its grounds for appeal


2. The Appellant makes no comment on the alleged facts relating to the alleged infringement of the Congestion Charge having sought to appeal the decision of TFL on the basis that its attempt to impose a penalty charge(s) on the Appellant is unlawful

3. The Appellant has refuted TFLs right to impose this charge on the basis that it is extorting money and is in breach of the express provisions of the Declaration / Bill of Rights 1689.

4. Accordingly it is submitted that the appeal should be upheld.

5. The Appellants submit that the issues for the adjudicator to decide are as follows;

a. Whether the Declaration / Bill of Rights has been repealed by the Congestion Charge Scheme

b. If the Declaration / Bill of Rights has not been repealed whether the Congestion Charge Scheme in particular the facility to levy varying penalty charges is consistent with Declaration / Bill of Rights;

c. In particular whether or not the penalty charge is a "fine or forfeit";

d. that TFL and its agents have no lawful authority to demand money for the alleged infringement that has not been dealt with by a court of law

e. whether PATAS is an independent tribunal;

f. whether the constitution of the PATAS breaches the Appellants right to a fair hearing;


6. The Appellant will say that the substantive law relevant to this appeal is the Declaration of Rights and the Bill of Rights upon which it is based
That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void

7. The Appellant further refers to the case of the Metric Martyrs Judgment at sections 62 and 63.

8. The Appellant notes that TFL has referred to the recent application of Mr R de Crittenden for judicial review.

9. The Appellant notes further that TFL relies on an adjudicators decision in Robin Townsend v Transport for London. TFL has declined to produce a transcript of the case however and suggest that the Appellant obtain a copy from PATAS. The applicant has not been issued with a copy of this case and is therefore unable to evaluate it.

10. The Appellants submits that the Declaration of Rights 1689 contained the terms of the Settlement to put an end to years of revolution. The Agreement was made between William of Orange and those members of the general public that he had called to meet with him and which enabled William to claim legitimate kingship and thereafter summon lawful Parliament.

11. The most important task undertaken by the new Parliament was to create a Parliamentary Recognition of the Declaration of Rights and the complete text of the Declaration of Rights was incorporated into an Act of Parliament known as the Bill of Rights.

12. The Appellant contends that the significance of this is that whilst the Bill of Rights is a creature of Parliament and subject to repeal & or amendment the Declaration is NOT such a creature and accordingly not subject to repeal and or amendment by any parliament.

13. Accordingly even if which is denied the Adjudicator were to hold that the Bill of Rights was amended or repealed by the provisions enacting the Congestion Charge Scheme these cannot be held to apply to the Declaration.

14. The Appellant contends that the Declaration / Bill of Rights have not been amended or repealed by the Congestion Charge Scheme. Further the provisions of the Bill of Rights are clear and express, ie :
That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void

15. TFL has sought to argue that the Congestion Charge Scheme is compatible with the Bill of Rights as "its intention was to protect the rights of citizens and prevent the imposition of penalties without a right of challenge." The Appellant has challenged TFL to substantiate the basis of this interpretation but notes that TFL has still been unable to do so. It would appear that TFL believes that repeating the same opinion makes it a fact.

16. The Appellant rejects the relevance of this opinion of TFL and is content to rely on the clear and express wording of the Bill of Rights. In particular there is no issue of rights of challenge when a fine or forfeit is void ab initio before conviction.

17. The Appellant has referred to the case known as the Metric Martyr’s case in particular at sections 62 and 63. It is noteworthy that TFL whilst acknowledging that the Appellant has relied on this case fails to comment or challenge the findings.

18. The case is of paramount importance in that Justice Laws held that a later statute did not impliedly repeal an earlier one where there was incompatibility when the earlier statute had a special "constitutional" status. The judge expressly referred to the Bill of Rights 1689 in this category.

19. Accordingly insofar as the penalty charge is a fine or forfeit it is unlawful to seek to impose or enforce it in the absence of conviction.

20. TFL then refers to a further adjudicators decision which is submits supports its contention that the imposition of a penalty charge is a civil matter and therefore not a fine. TFL acknowledges that this adjudicators decision is not directly related to the Congestion Charge Scheme.

21. The Appellant has no access to this decision and it is noteworthy that TFL declines to provide a copy nor indeed has it cited any passage of any relevance. Notwithstanding the Appellant denies it has any relevance to the instant appeal. Insofar as it alleges otherwise TFL should be compelled to make full and detailed submissions on the point given its importance.

22. As to the substantive issue as to whether or not the penalty charge is a fine or forfeit the Appellant finds the argument disingenuous. The fact is that a penalty charge meets all the criteria for the definition of a fine or forfeit and to maintain otherwise is emabarrassing to the Appellant.

23. The penalty charge is clearly intended to intimidate and enforce conduct by the use of financial sanctions. If the matter were a purely civil one then the Appellant suggests that the sum levied should bear some resemblance to the loss or damage incurred by TFL. Clearly this is not the case. To continue the civil analogy further it is well established that a penalty at civil law is void at common law.

24. TFL further refers to the recent application by Mr R de Crittenden before Mr Justice Collins. Whilst the judge declined Mr de Crittenden’s application for judicial review it is denied that this has settled any matters as Mr de Crittenden is filing papers with the Court of Appeal and may even take it to the House of Lords if necessary.

25. Further it is not apparent from TFL reference to Mr de Crittenden’s application whether Mr Justice Collins considered the arguments raised by the Appellant in this appeal in relation to the Congestion Charge, nor Mr Justice Laws judgment in the Metric Martyrs case. TFL makes no submissions on these points.

26. Notwithstanding the foregoing the Appellant challenges the independence and impartiality of the adjudicator and refers the adjudicator to the attached extract from submissions made to PATAS in the matter of an appeal by Alan Parker against TFL, in particular the submissions of Barrie Segal of


27. In the premises the adjudicator is requested to find that TFL has no authority to impose the penalty as claimed or at all, that its purported enforcement should be rejected and the appeal upheld.

7 th October 2006

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Talks over city parking

Snderland Echo
Monday 09 October 06

Talks were due to be held today over concerns about parking enforcement across Sunderland.
The move follows a BBC TV documentary which showed parking attendants using racist language and making offensive comments.
Phil Barrett, the city council's director of development and regeneration, was due to meet senior executives from NCP, the company which operated parking enforcement in the city.
Five attendants have been suspended from their posts as a result of the programme.
The chairman of the council's environmental and planning review committee, Jim Blackburn, wants a report on the situation to be presented to its meeting next Monday.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Leeds City Council Parking Problems

After a tip-off I attempted to get a PCN in Leeds City Centre last Friday, but to no avail.

There were no Parking Attendants spotted and so my expedition was fruitless.

However, my journey westwards continued. My Penalty Charge Notice collected outside the offices of the National Parking Adjudication Service in Manchester will give me the opportunity to challenge the independence and impartiality of the service and its financial and administrative complicity with Manchester City Council.

More to come.

By the way, the bay in which I was parked to get the PCN wasn't correctly marked!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Sunderland Parking Meltdown

Would you believe that Sunderland City Council have attempted to supply further evidence to the NPAS tribunal two days AFTER the adjudicator, Andrew Keenan ruled that he would not accept anything further.

As the shockwaves of the BBC 'Inside Out' Documentary reverberate throughout the 'parking industry' a it is revealed that a total of 7 NCP Parking Attendants have now been suspended.

That doesn't get Sunderland Council off the hook for the following reasons:

  • at least ten of my PCNs at the NPAS appeal had been issued by the PAs featured in the shocking documentary and who are now suspended.
  • the Council can offer no guarantee that my, or indeed any other persons PCNs issued by these PAs have been issued correctly and without malice.
  • therefore, all monies received by Sunderland Council may be classed as items of unlawful income and should therefore be refunded.

As John Howe points out in last night's Sunderland Echo, the indignation of Sunderland City Council and quick condemnation of NCP has given them a useful smokescreen to bury the failings of the Council. Don't worry tho' cos that smoke is starting to lift.

There is much more to come.

Meanwhile, I do believe that Leeds City Council has a bigger problem

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

£3.5M parking fines may be written off

Norwich Evening News
By David Powles
4 October 06

John Sampson is one of 61,000 people in Norwich who might have their parking tickets written off because they are invalid.

More than £3.5million of unpaid parking tickets given to motorists in Norwich may have to be written off.
The Evening News can reveal Norwich City Council has now suspended enforcement action on 61,000 outstanding parking tickets while it waits to find out if they are invalid.
If they are, the lost revenue will be a bitter blow to the cash-strapped city council and Norfolk County Council, which puts the money raised from the tickets towards road safety improvements.
The revelation came after a High Court case ruled in favour of motorist from Barnet, London, who argued his parking ticket was illegal as it did not clearly state both the date the offence took place and the date the ticket was issued.
Following the case, the city council was one of several in the country to change the wording on its tickets.
Prior to this, the city council's tickets contained a date and time for the offence, but not a separate date of issue.
Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed the authority handed out 172,518 of such tickets since 2002.
Of these, 111,997 have already been paid and it is believed motorists will not be able to claim the cash back as they have effectively admitted guilt.
However, the remaining 60,521 PCNs, worth £60 each to the council, could have to be written off and are now on hold.
The authority hoped tickets would not be classed as invalid, although it was awaiting formal guidance on the implications of the ruling.
A spokeswoman said: “Our tickets are not the same as the ones in the judgement, however we are awaiting further legal advice.
“The unpaid tickets have been put on hold but they can still be paid by members of the public.”
However, Barrie Segal, of Appeal Now, who represented the driver in the Barnet case, said: “The ticket is invalid and falls squarely within the judgement because it has just one date.
“I think motorists are entitled to claim back tickets paid because the judge said that such tickets are a nullity. Why should any motorist pay an invalid ticket? The council is pulling a fast one.”
Meanwhile, Neil Herron, founder of the People's No Campaign, which fights over parking fines, said: “The court case means that no local authority can pursue non-compliant PCNs.
“Norwich City Council must now create a year zero and an amnesty for motorists. They know they have got it wrong, which is why they have changed the wording.”
John Sampson, 43, from Clover Hill Road, in Bowthorpe, received a ticket for parking in St Benedict's, which has now been put on hold.
He said: “I believe they gave me the ticket unfairly so I appealed. I wrote back to them and by law they should have replied within 14 days.
“But it is two months on and I have heard nothing. This could have massive repercussions.”
The High Court ruling said tickets issued by Barnet Council were not correctly worded under the Road Traffic Act 1991.
Tickets must include separate dates for the offence and issue, even if they occurred on the same day.
A circular to all councils in London sent from Nick Lester, director of transport, environment and planning for the Association of London Governments, said: “Boroughs may not enforce non-compliant PCNs. This means that no Notice to Owners or charge certificates should be sent out, nor should debt registrations or bailiffs warrants be sought with respect to non-compliant PCNs.”
Norwich City Council said the cash raised by the tickets is used to cover its costs, with the rest handed over to Norfolk County Council to pay for road improvements.
Have you had a parking ticket written off by the council? Contact David Powles on 01603 772447 or via email on


Five parking attendants off the streets in 'racism' probe
Sunderland Echo
Wednesday October 4, 2006
By Craig Thompson and Jeremy Wicking

Five parking attendants have been suspended after NCP staff in Sunderland were filmed making racist comments and cracking jokes about disabled people.
The workers have been removed from their positions while a full investigation into the remarks gets underway.
In an undercover report for the BBC's Inside Out programme, one attendant even described slashing a man's tyres after he complained.
Amid union calls for parking enforcement to be brought back under council control, and condemnation from all sectors of the community, the controversy appears to be rolling on.
NCP, whose staff enforce parking rules for Sunderland Council, took a temporary measure to withdraw some staff from parts of the city after Monday's programme led to verbal abuse.
A spokesman for the organisation said: "This was for their own personal safety. Five workers have now been suspended from their posts and an investigation has now been launched."
Coun Bryan Charlton, who has responsibility for community cohesion in Sunderland, said: "The council and its partners are as shocked as everyone else and has taken immediate action including ensuring that NCP acts swiftly and decisively to redress the situation and make appropriate retribution to the damage caused by the actions of some of its employees.
"These views of a tiny minority are not representative of parking attendants in the city. We would urge people to be supportive of the vast majority of attendants going about their duties and providing an important service to the city."
NCP took over parking enforcement in Sunderland from the council in 2003.
Coun Charlton added: "This recent episode is hugely regrettable but needs to be kept in proportion.
"Many people in Sunderland have worked very hard over the past few years to promote good relations between people from different backgrounds.
"Unions are urging the council to take parking enforcement "in-house".
Council leader Bob Symonds has already ordered an immediate review of the three-year-old contract, which could lead to it being taken over by the council, a new company brought in or a shake-up at NCP in Sunderland.
Conservative opposition leader Coun Peter Wood said the programme had raised fresh issues about parking in Sunderland which have come after hundreds of traffic rules and regulations were exposed as being wrong.
He said the "drip, drip" of allegations over parking was harming sensible enforcement in the city and, given the council's track record on other traffic matters, he would have major doubts if it was taken in-house.
The council and NCP have been partners in ticketing since taking over from Northumbria Police and more than £1.8million has been collected in fines.

Comments shock city businesses
BUSINESSMEN from across Sunderland have spoken of their shock at hearing the comments of city parking attendants.
Asif Khan, 33, of Ashbrooke, said: "The comments from the people in the programme have let the rest of the community down, and I'm sure that these were just a few bulldogs."
The comments also showed up the wider ignorance of the NCP parking attendants, as the majority of the ethnic community in Sunderland have a Bangladeshi background and are not from Pakistan.
Mr Khan said that in Urdu, the main language of Pakistan, "Paki"means clean and "stan" is land, a fact that many British people would not know.
He said: "I was completely horrified at the comments. They should all be sacked on the spot and they're ruining the reputation of the rest of the community of Sunderland, who I know are not like this."
A file on the comments has been sent to Northumbria Police.
Peter Darke, who runs a bike shop in the city centre, said many people had been put off coming to do their shopping in Sunderland because of the parking attendants.
He said: "Things were much better when the police and council were running things."

'Two sets of parking rules for same street'
AN ASTONISHED independent parking adjudicator heard there were two sets of traffic rules for the same stretch of street.
The claim came in a tribunal at which parking protester Neil Herron was appealing against 26 penalty tickets he has deliberately collected around Sunderland.
Mr Herron used the public hearing, at Sunderland Central Library to bring up flaws which he claims could bring down the entire parking regime in the city.
On one road, Frederick Street, the council admitted it had two parking orders imposed – one imposing "no waiting" restrictions, while the other made provision for parking bays.
Adjudicator Andrew Keenan said that he would "need a lot of convincing" that two traffic orders could cover the same area.
He told Stephen Sauvain, a barrister acting for the council,: "I'm asking what does the Traffic Regulation Order say – parking spaces or no waiting? You're saying 'it's both actually'. How can motorists know what's going on?"
He added that if correct markings had not been used throughout the city's controlled parking zones then this could invalidate the whole zone, and had done in other adjudications.
Mr Herron went on to claim that a number of other streets in Sunderland had been signed and marked incorrectly and were subject to conflicting traffic regulations.
He said: "It seems the whole thing is a complete shambles. The motoring public in Sunderland deserve better than this."
But Mr Sauvain QC said Mr Herron had failed to produce evidence to suggest that road markings and signage were incorrect.
After the hearing, Mr Keenan said that he would consider the appeal carefully and write to the two parties to inform them of his decision, adding: "I will need to spend a considerable amount of time on this."
If Mr Herron wins his appeal, he claims the decision could cause the collapse of parking orders in Sunderland and lead to penalty ticket refunds for hundreds of motorists. He faces paying the fines should he lose.
04 October 2006


Sunderland Echo
03rd October 06

SUNDERLAND Council leader Bob Symonds today launched an immediate review of the city's parking enforcement contract after revelations in an undercover TV investigation.

He also revealed that police are being handed a file on how traffic attendants made racist comments and jokes about disabled people on the BBC programme.
Coun Symonds said he would meet with NCP (National Car Parks), which has had the contract for three-and-a-half years.
That review could see the parking service taken over by the council, a new contractor or a renegotiated agreement.
As well as racist comments on the Inside Out programme on BBC1 last night, an attendant described how he vandalised a car in revenge after an argument with a driver.
Coun Symonds said: "I was disgusted and I'm as concerned as everyone else in the city about the remarks that were made.
"This city council will not tolerate racism or comments like this about disabled people from our staff or anybody else, and it is certainly not what we expect from our contractors.
"The racist remarks are being referred to the police and the contract is under review."
He confirmed he would be meeting with NCP at the earliest opportunity to discuss the contract and urged anyone to report the behaviour of attendants to the council, NCP or police.
Control of traffic attendants from Northumbria Police passed to the council at the beginning of 2003 and since then more than £1.8million in fines has been collected.
There are 17 attendants and the service has been plagued by allegations of aggressive ticketing while the council has had to refund more than £60,000 of fines after loopholes were exposed.
NCP spokesman Tim Cowen said it was taking the programme's footage extremely seriously and launched an immediate investigation into the conduct of the attendants.
He said: "As an employer we cannot condone the language used in the programme, but it was not clear the level of entrapment used.
"The BBC refused to show us any footage of it and we are deeply suspicious about the way it was compiled and it was riddled with mistakes.
"He said an allegation of tyre slashing may simply just have been "silly bravado" and added:
"Whether the attendant actually slashed them is another matter as there is no record of a complaint to the police.
"Nevertheless, we cannot condone racist comments or those about people with disabilities and we're investigating those."
The BBC said: "We set out to ask some serious questions about the state of parking in Sunderland."

D-Day for parking protester Neil
A CAMPAIGNER who has waged a one-man war on parking attendants today gets his chance to challenge the city's parking laws.
Neil Herron has exposed serious flaws in the city's parking regulations over the last 18 months and helped drivers claw back tens of thousands of pounds in fines issued incorrectly. For two years, he has deliberately collected parking tickets in an attempt to expose the fact that Sunderland Council and NCP were acting unlawfully but, Mr Herron claims, the council have always dropped the cases and cancelled the tickets.
Today Mr Herron's appeal against 26 tickets will be heard by National Parking Adjudicator Andrew Keenan at a public hearing at Sunderland Central Library in Fawcett Street.
Sunderland City Council has instructed barrister Stephen Sauvain QC to handle the case.
No other local authority has ever taken such steps for a £60 parking ticket appeal, said Mr Herron.
To date the campaign has forced the council to refund more than £60,000 to motorists wrongly fined.
Neil Herron said: "We offered to sit down with the council to highlight the massive flaws in their regime but we were dismissed with a contemptuous arrogance. We were forced to go public.
"Hopefully, the hearing will allow a full public airing of the errors that still exist in what has become the biggest parking shambles in the country."

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