Sunday, January 31, 2010

First signs of madness for parking cash cow

Open and transparent parking policy?

Press and public are not allowed to see the first stages of BSE as the parking cash cow starts its descent into madness.

Press excluded from parking talks
Bucks Free Press

Wednesday 27th January 2010

THE Bucks Free Press was last night ejected from a High Wycombe Town Committee meeting as councillors discussed on-street parking tariffs.
The committee held its first meeting of the New Year at Wycombe District Council's offices in Queen Victoria Road on Tuesday night.
But members of the public and the press were excluded from the meeting under Paragraph three, Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 as committee members discussed parking in private.
Item 15 on the agenda was a "review of on-street parking tariffs".

Is the Audit Commission playing politics?

As Bolton's District Auditor faces action before the High Court for failing to rule on unlawfully derived income in the council's accounts the following article makes very interesting reading.

Audit Commission's anti-Tory ‘plot’
Robert Watts
The Sunday Times
January 31st 2010

ENGLAND’S local government spending watchdog has paid a lobbying firm with links to Labour for advice on how to undermine Tory frontbenchers who challenged its activities.

The Audit Commission, which is supposed to be politically neutral, paid nearly £60,000 to the lobbyists, who advised it to “combat the activities of Eric Pickles”, the Tory party’s chairman.

Pickles has been leading a Conservative assault on the commission, calling for some of its powers to be handed back to local authorities.

Caroline Spelman, the shadow local government secretary, accused it yesterday of bankrolling lobbyists to save its own skin.

An official from another government regulator said there was “real fear” inside the commission about the prospect of a Conservative government.

Stephen Bundred, its £208,000-a-year chief executive, is a former Labour councillor and associate of Ken Livingstone.

The commission denies Tory charges that it has breached official guidelines that ban quangos from hiring lobbyists to influence politicians.

Its role is to monitor local government, health, housing, community safety and fire and rescue services in England. The quango says of its role: “We promote value for money for taxpayers, auditing the £200 billion spent by 11,000 local public bodies.”

It used Connect Public Affairs — founded by Rosie Winterton MP, who is now a Labour minister — after Pickles announced a plan to axe its regulatory regime, the Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA).

Pickles called the system time-consuming, over-complicated and unnecessary.

The Sunday Times has seen five reports written by Connect for the commission, including a six-page briefing on how a Conservative government might operate. The Tories want council services to be vetted at a local level, not by regulators based in Whitehall.

One Connect report advised the commission on how to “build support for CAA, and protect it from a potential change of government”.

It advised the watchdog to foment a rebellion in the Tory grassroots: “Many Conservative local authority leaders do not follow national party lines. Therefore there is a good opportunity for the commission to exploit any potential differences in opinion.”

It also urges the commission to put up a “strong local lobbying response in order to mitigate and combat the activities of Eric Pickles”.

Pickles said yesterday: “It is disgraceful that I and other taxpayers have had to pay for the Audit Commission to do the Labour party’s dirty work.
“This feather-bedded quango should not be using our money trying to save expensive, box-ticking regulation which is simply not working.”

He called for members of the Audit Commission’s board to reimburse the taxpayer for Connect’s work out of their own pockets.

Spelman said: “We can no longer have confidence in the Audit Commission if it has become such a creature of the state that it bankrolls lobbyists to save its own skin and call for more red tape. This is a complete abuse of taxpayers’ money by a body which is supposed to be standing up for taxpayers’ interests.”

The Tories say the commission’s use of Connect breaches official guidance.

Cabinet Office guidelines state: “It will always be an improper use of public funds for non-departmental public bodies to employ PR or other consultants to lobby parliament or government departments in an attempt to influence government policy or obtain higher funding.”

The commission said all work done by Connect was not lobbying, merely “research and analysis”. “The commission does not operate in a vacuum,” it said. “It is incumbent upon the commission, as a publicly funded body, to keep all political parties aware of its activities and findings, to inform public debate.”

Bundred, 56, who has announced that he will step down within the next few months, was paid £208,000 last year and has a pension pot worth £1.3m.

He served under Livingstone as a Labour member of the Greater London Council (GLC) during the 1980s. His spokesman declined to comment on whether he remains a member of the Labour party.

While on the GLC, Bundred invited Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein leader, to attend talks in London during the IRA’s bombing campaign in 1982 when dialogue was ruled out by Labour party leaders.

Connect has maintained close ties with Labour since it was set up in 1990 by Winterton, who now serves as a business and local government minister.

She says her business relationship with Connect ended in 1994, but she remains close to Gill Morris, the firm’s director.

Eight of 23 of Connect staff profiled on the company’s website have worked for Labour — and one is contesting a seat for the party at the coming general election.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Know any Blue Badge supermarket victims?

If so, The Motorists Legal Challenge Fund lawyers would love to hear from you.

Supermarket parking limits 'breach' disability laws
BBC News
Supermarkets have started to limit the amount of time customers can park
The UK's big supermarkets are breaking disability laws by having strict time limits in about two-thirds of their car parks, charities have told the BBC.

Private firms run some of the parking areas for Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons and customers face penalty charges for overstaying.
But under the Disability Discrimination Act, businesses need to make extra allowances for disabled people.
The supermarkets say they will review their policies on disabled parking.
Supermarkets are increasingly using private parking firms and automatic number plate recognition systems to limit customer parking, often to two hours.

'Acknowledge problem'
The restrictions are to discourage drivers from abusing the free parking spaces.
BBC Breakfast contacted 200 large supermarkets from the four main chains.
Of the 124 that imposed parking time limits, about two-thirds said they did not give disabled people any extra time to shop, which is a breach of the law.

Britain's motorists are being stealth taxed by another dubious practice
Neil Herron
Motorist campaigner

Neil Coyle, from the charity Disability Alliance, said: "Supermarkets need to acknowledge there is a problem, and secondly, very quickly they need to ensure their car parking procedures conform with the law.
"You or I can stamp our feet and say how outrageous it is but at the end of the day there is a law that protects disabled people from this happening."

He said the supermarkets needed to end the "unfair charges" or "they can wait until someone takes a legal case and potentially face a considerable compensation case".

Motorist campaigner Neil Herron said supermarkets should get rid of the "draconian" and "legally questionable" private enforcement process and handle car parking in house.
"If someone is abusing the system, clamp them, charge them a £2.50 clamp release fee, handled by their own staff.
"Britain's motorists are being stealth taxed by another dubious practice,"
he said.

The BBC's Keith Doyle said all four supermarket chains have said they will review their policies on disabled parking.
"If you do need extra time, the advice is to go to customer services in the supermarkets - they have all told us they will make allowances, they will review their policies - so give customer services your registration number and hopefully you won't get a ticket," he said.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chief Adjudicator writes to councils advising them that their PCNs were illegal

Yet it seems no-one is prepared to disclose which councils were written to and why they ignored the advice from the Chief Adjudicator.
As the Glenn Dickinson v The Parking Adjudicator case awaits a date before the courts one has to ask why the 'independent and impartial' Chief Adjudicator only wrote to the councils and not motorists with pending PCNs. Is that 'independent and impartial?

Caroline Sheppard (left) is the Chief Adjudicator for the Traffic Penalty Tribunal, and, it has been revealed, is an employee of Manchester City Council.

Lord Adonis is unable to provide the answer to Lord Lucas' question as to what was written and to whom as is revealed by the Parliamentary Question below.

As matters develop we expect that the press and media take a closer look at which councils benefited financially by continuing to issue PCNs that they knew to be illegal and contrary to the High Court ruling.

What also needs bearing in mind is that the Traffic Penalty Tribunal receive 60p from each PCN issued.
Despite the Daily Telegraph reporting nearly two years ago no-one is prepared to disclose the list or the content of the letter. Time for someone to start digging.

Illegal parking fines cost drivers millions
Motorists have paid millions of pounds in illegal parking fines, The Telegraph has learned.
By David Millward,
Transport Editor
30 May 2008

At least 80 councils across the country continued to take money from drivers for 16 months even though they had been told by the national parking adjudicator that their tickets did not comply with the law.
Others have been victims of local authorities who have enforced fines even though their road markings were illegal and, in some cases, where parking bays were narrower than the width of a family car. More ...

Last night, the Department for Transport said councils should "seriously consider" contacting motorists and reimbursing any fines that were illegally imposed.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Westminster propose increase in parking charges

It seems as that there is a shortfall in Westminster and money needs to be found from somewhere. However, parking enforcement cannot be used to raise revenue.

It is anticipated that there will be some very serious resistance to the move to extract more and more money from motorists and there seems to be no long-term planning or logic behind this decision which will be fiercely resisted by residents, businesses, commercial operators and individual motorists.

Councillor Chalkley seems to be throwing down many gauntlets to many groups but instead of courting public support is simply ensuring a 'gathering of the clans' for one almighty public airing of Westminster's Parking Endforcement Policy past, present and future.

Let's hope there are no dancing skeletons!

BBC Online report here

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Off Topic ... Tools Explained

Nothing to do with parking but I have just received these definitions and they made me smile as they helped me understand why I never ended up being 'practical.' I think that I must have spotted the potential problems early.

DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted project which you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it.

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, 'Oh b****!'

SKILL SAW: A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.

PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.

BELT SANDER: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.

HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

VICE-GRIPS: Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for setting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub out of which you want to remove a bearing race.

TABLE SAW: A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.

BAND SAW: A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to cut good aluminium sheet into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the trash can after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside edge.

TWO-TON ENGINE HOIST: A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of everything you forgot to disconnect.

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids or for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.

STRAIGHT SCREWDRIVER: A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws and butchering your palms.

PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 pence part.

HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to make hoses too short.

HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent the object we are trying to hit.

UTILITY KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund cheques, and rubber or plastic parts.
Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use.

SON-OF-A-BITCH TOOL: (A personal favourite!) Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling 'Son of a B****!' at the top of your lungs. It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need.

Hope you found this informative.

Westminster's Parking Plan 'illegal'

More sterling efforts from LMAG (London Motorists Action Group)
member Paul Pearson who has been splashed over the press and media with this latest revelation. The parking 'industry' is set to come under very close scrutiny in the next few months with three cases listed for the High Court and a 'gathering of the clans' taking place with LMAG teaming up with the Drivers Alliance and the Taxpayers Alliance to support the Motorists Legal Challenge Fund which aims to secure justice for Britain's motorists who are ready to 'Rage Against the Parking Machine.'

At will be the fivers and tenners from across the country that will ensure that justice is seen to be done in the most public of fashions and this offensive stealth tax forced to revert back to proper parking enforcement for the right reasons.

To donate to the fighting fund click here

London council 'misleading' over 'illegal parking plan'
Ed Davey BBC News, London

Westminster already makes more from parking than any London borough
A council has been accused of a "potentially illegal" attempt to use parking charge rises to raise revenue after BBC London obtained a document described as a "smoking gun".

The news comes after Westminster Council, which has a £22m overspend on its books, set out a series of proposals that include raising parking charges.
They would involve a 60p-per-hour pay-and-display increase and extending the period in which people are charged to park, from 6.30pm until midnight.

Councillor Danny Chalkley, cabinet member for city management, insisted the changes were solely an attempt to tackle congestion.
Asked whether the changes were proposed to plug the gap in Westminster's finances, Mr

Chalkley said: "It's not correct that we are doing this to revenue raise, we are doing this to keep streets running freely."
It appears on the strength of the evidence that Westminster have a case to answer
Mark Cran QC

However, BBC London has seen an internal council briefing, dated 12 January, which makes it clear the "key drivers" for this year's budget include an attempt to address the overspend.

The report continues: "Officers were asked to go away and look more closely at parking and community safety to find reductions or additional income.
"The areas of parking and community safety have been earmarked to contribute the majority of the £14m [the sum Westminster says it needs to find]."

Responding to the document, parking campaigner Barrie Segal accused Mr Chalkley of being "disingenuous".
"This report is the smoking gun",
he said. "The briefing document flatly contradicts [Mr Chalkley's] public statements."

Councillor Chalkley claims the changes are not to raise money
In 1995, a High Court judge ruled against neighbouring Camden Council, saying it could not use parking to raise revenue.
Mark Cran QC, the barrister who successfully brought the 1995 case against Camden Council, told BBC London: "It sounds as though the evidence is stronger in this instance than it was in the Camden case.

"It appears on the strength of the evidence that Westminster may have a case to answer." Mark Cran QC

Council's own analysis of the case reads: "The High Court was very clear that [it] did not allow the council in setting the charges for parking to take account of extraneous financial matters.
"Westminster therefore cannot increase charges with the motive of generating income, though the generation of income is legitimate if incidental to the setting of charges for other reasons such as traffic restraint."

Mr Segal said: "I find it truly astonishing that Westminster would set down in writing that it knows revenue can only be raised from parking if it is 'incidental'.
"Then cynically, nudge-nudge wink-wink, they come out with a load of extra charges and say it is because of congestion."

Paul Pearson, another parking campaigner, said: "Parking can not be used for revenue generating - and that is exactly what they are doing here. This report proves it."

Charges 'reinvested'
Westminster Council makes more from parking than any other London council and recorded a £35m profit from the account last year.
Referring to the latest proposals, a spokesman said: "These are just options and the council's cabinet will make a final decision in due course.
"This is not about generating profit for the council, which would be illegal, it is about dealing with the increasing pressures on our roads.
"Every single penny of surplus income collected from parking is reinvested straight back into major transport projects."

The spokesman accepted however, the 12 January briefing had been written by the council.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tell me this isn't fraud

I met with a certain council officer a couple of years ago and he admitted that the council BCC were aware that there were a great deal of signs and lines across the county which were non-compliant. He was concerned because the consultants who had been brought in were just tasked with identifing those which needed renewing due to maintenance issues and not compliance issues. He admitted that he had spent his weekends checking compliance.

His, and the other reports will be available. I would suggest that someone starts asking the questions. Would also suggest that the council officer I met checks his position and his conscience. A little reminder.

2 Fraud by false representation
(1) A person is in breach of this section if he—
(a) dishonestly makes a false representation, and
(b) intends, by making the representation—
(i) to make a gain for himself or another, or
(ii) to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.
(2) A representation is false if—
(a) it is untrue or misleading, and
(b) the person making it knows that it is, or might be, untrue or misleading.
(3) “Representation” means any representation as to fact or law, including a
representation as to the state of mind of—
(a) the person making the representation, or
(b) any other person.
(4) A representation may be express or implied.
(5) For the purposes of this section a representation may be regarded as made if it (or
anything implying it) is submitted in any form to any system or device designed to
receive, convey or respond to communications (with or without human intervention).

3 Fraud by failing to disclose information
A person is in breach of this section if he—
(a) dishonestly fails to disclose to another person information which he is under a
legal duty to disclose, and
(b) intends, by failing to disclose the information—
(i) to make a gain for himself or another, or
(ii) to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.

As the Police begin investigations into criminality across the country and cases start to be prepared for the High Court I assume it is only a matter of time before action is demanded in Marlow. Taking money to which you are not entitled is NOT a civil matter.

Council still ticketing drivers despite signs admission
Thursday 21st January 2010
By James Nadal »

PARKING fines are still being dealt out on a Marlow street – despite a council's admission that signs were wrong.

A secret filming sting by UKIP in November prompted Buckinghamshire County Council to review parking bays in Institute Road.
Although BCC acknowledged the errors motorists are still being given tickets.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Free Press show there were 36 fines dished out in the first four weeks after the admission was made.

Wycombe District Council, which is responsible for enforcement, said it is “still waiting for conclusive guidance” from BCC about which bays are correctly marked.

But there was confusion after BCC said it was up to WDC, which it had not heard from.

Spokesman Richard Wells said: “As far as we're concerned all the bays are enforceable but it's Wycombe's responsibility to enforce the tickets, it's nothing to do with the county. The ball is in their court.”

An audit has taken place and new signs and lines have been ordered.
UKIP says thousands of motorists are entitled to refunds because various roads across the town have incorrectly marked bays.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Council uses helicopter to cancel parking tickets

It is one thing using Smartcars to issue PCNs but helicopters to cancel them?
View from Sheffield City Council's Parking Services Department. Perhaps common sense and discretion would be cheaper all round.

Parking fine as cabbie helps disabled woman
Sheffield Star
Published Date: 18 January 2010
By Ben James

A KIND-hearted taxi driver was slapped with a parking fine - after leaving his cab for just two minutes to help his disabled passenger into a shop.
Bernard Lindley, aged 60, from Manor, pushed 80-year-old wheelchair-bound Phyliss Kerr to a shop in Sheffield city centre.But when he returned he found a £75 parking fine on his windscreen.

Phyliss had called her regular driver and asked him to take her into the city centre from her home in Manor.Bernard could not find a parking space and parked in a loading bay on Surrey Street, behind the Town Hall.Phyliss, who was recovering from a stroke, asked Bernard to push her to the shops and when he returned he found a parking warden had struck.

She said: "I felt really weak from my stroke and was very down. Bernard would do anything for me, he's such a kind soul."

Bernard, who has been a taxi driver for 39 years, said: "I never heard of anything so outrageous. We are told by the council to take care of disabled passengers and make sure that they get to their destination ok. I've done this and they reward me with this fine."I've complied with one part of their policy and got stung by the other."

The fine was for £35 if paid within 14 days and £75 if paid after.

Phyliss said: "I think it's disgusting. He will come out anytime of the day or night for me. If I ask him to come and pick up my bags he will always help me. I don't know what I would do without him."

The council has now promised to refund Bernard after The Star stepped in. Sheffield Council head of parking services Kevin Butt said: "After looking at this and taking more of a helicopter view I can see an argument in both directions."We have therefore decided in this case to fully refund Mr Lindley."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Credit where credit is due

Exposing illegality and bad practice is essential to ensuring that parking enforcement is seen to be fair. However, it is often the case that individuals' actions at the lower end of the enforcement ladder don't get placed before the decision makers and senior management.
When it does, the actions of those key personnel are a critical. Therefore, praise to Kevin Goad at Westminster Council who acted swiftly and cancelled the PCN when the following was brought to his attention.

Dear Neil ... "I was waiting for my daughter to arrive into Paddington. As a disabled driver I asked a traffic operative where the nearest disabled bay was. He pointed the other side of the road. I duly parked and waited in the car for a while. The warden passed me with a colleague. He saw me said nothing and walked on.

A short time later I left the car to use a loo in a cafe on the other side of the road. When I returned the warden was issuing me with a ticket and pointing out it was a pay by phone bay. I remonstrated that he had led me into this bay and then discovered that he - an African man - had a poor grasp of English.

I went to the parking adjudicator and she recommended the council review the case because of mitigating circumstances.
Subsequently the council decided to ignore the adjudicator's recommendation and is intent on prosecuting me and demanding £120.00 payment.
In their letter of rejection they claim that the disabled bay was next to the pay by phone bay that I was parked in and that I should have read the sign. In fact the adjacent bay was occupied at the time so I couldn't have physically parked there. When I remonstrated with him he smiled as though it was a joke. I suspect the attendant wilfully misdirected me.
I don't believe parking wardens should be in the business of leading motorists astray to increase parking revenue. Westminster tell me I have no choice but to pay the £120.00. Is this right?

It isn't and wasn't right but the adjudicator does not have the power to exercise discretion, only refer it back to the council. It then goes back into 'the machine.'
Fortunately, we were able to intervene and ensure that justice was done.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The only council in the country charging motorcyclists to park

There is no rhyme or reason as to why Westminster Council are continuing down this route in the face of growing public opposition. Perhaps there is more to this than meets the eye. Who really makes the money when the claim is 'it's revenue neutral?'

Is that before or after the operating costs and payments to private contractors?

Westminster council agrees motorbike parking fees in spite of vandalism
David Williams, Motoring Editor

Motorcyclists will be charged to park in central London after council bosses approved the scheme.
Westminster will charge riders £1 a day for on-street parking from Monday 25 January, making it the first London authority to do so.

Thirty motorcycle parking road signs have been vandalised or stolen in the past five days, taking the cost of attacks directed at the scheme to £60,000 since trials began in August 2008.
The council has stepped up surveillance and says it will prosecute anyone found attacking the signs, which list regulations and hours.

Today Westminster said it was fair that riders should pay to park at about 6,100 on-street spaces after “dramatic” increases in demand for parking in central London.
It said that motorcycle ownership in the capital had soared by 50 per cent between 1997 and 2007 and that even before the rise, motorcycle bays in Westminster were oversubscribed by up to 150 per cent.

Motorcyclists have staged protests to defend free parking and websites challenging the plans have sprung up.
One site — — has pictures of damaged parking signs and tells riders that if a sign has been vandalised, they should refuse to pay.

Warren Djanogly, chairman of the “No To Bike Parking Tax Campaign”, said: “Motorcycles are part of the solution to transport; they do not cause high pollution or congestion.”
Westminster says it has listened to motorcyclists and increased the number of bays by 55 per cent.
It anticipates that the final scheme will be revenue neutral, but says any surplus will be invested in transport.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Councils use CCTV to collect £3million in 'ghost' parking tickets every year

But are their PCNs valid? More will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Daily Mail
12 January 2010
By Scott Warren

CCTV cameras are being used to issue 'ghost' parking tickets by 34 councils, generating £3million a year in fines.
The cameras record parking rule infringements, with automated fine notices then sent to the vehicle's owner.
More councils are expected to soon adopt the technology.

Motoring groups say 'ghost' tickets are unfair, as it makes matters more difficult for motorists hoping to mount an appeal.
They also argue the cameras cannot tell an illegally parked car from one with a disabled permit, or from a car that has been briefly stopped so the driver can consult a map.

AA president Edmund King said: 'We regard them as 'ghost tickets' because drivers are unaware of their alleged offence for some time afterwards. These tickets are very hard to challenge because drivers are in no position to check the roadside signs or whether the ticket was issued by mistake.'

Throughout England, 265 local authorities collected £328million in parking fines last year - more than three times as much as speed cameras raked in.
Fines range from £120 in London to £70 elsewhere, with a 50 per cent discount offered for offenders who pay their fine within 14 days.
Cameras help authorities issue tickets for parking over yellow or red lines, in bus zones, on zig zags or in a restricted bay.

Most councils issuing fines based on camera evidence are in London.

Westminster is one London council using the technology. It saw the number of fines increase by almost 100,000 a year to 823,836, while in Enfield, north London, camera-generated tickets accounted for 40 per cent of all parking fines in the first year.

Department for Transport advice says the cameras should only be used where it is too difficult for personnel to issue tickets.
A Local Government Association spokesman told the Telegraph: 'Councils will not apologise for giving out parking tickets to stop cars parking illegally.
'If people do not want a parking ticket, they should not park illegally

Bloomsbury street that makes £2.5m a year in traffic fines

London Evening Standard
11 January 2010
By Ellen Widdup

This is the most lucrative road in London for parking fines and traffic penalties — raking in up to £2.5 million a year.
Wardens and cameras in Southampton Row in Bloomsbury, which is only 500 yards long, have snared almost 23,000 drivers in the past 12 months — giving out fines of up to £120 a time.
A Standard investigation has found that the road is one of many fines hotspots in the capital. Wardens issued almost 29,000 penalties for contraventions in Station Road, Harrow.

But the council charges half the level of fines of Camden, which regulates traffic in Southampton Row, making its potential revenue £1.7 million a year.
Across London in the past year, almost four million penalties were issued to motorists. Other roads which regularly rake in more than £1 million a year include Ripple Road, Barking; Queensway; and Atlantic Road, Brixton.

Today parking campaigners accused councils of using drivers as “cash cows” and focusing on single roads with poor signage as “entrapment spots”.

Barrie Segal, founder of Appeal Now, a website that helps drivers fight unfair penalties, said: “There are a few reasons that some roads are much worse than others. Often it's road signage — one sign will contradict another so it will be confusing for the motorist. Sometimes it's poor road marking. The problem is there's no incentive for councils to correct this.”

Camden's parking wardens and cameras have caught drivers in Southampton Row for a variety of offences, including driving in a bus lane, making an illegal U-turn and parking illegally.

A spokeswoman said 90 per cent of the fines issued were for traffic offences and the rest for parking violations.
Several major bus routes run along the road, so bus lanes must be kept clear at all times to prevent them being delayed,” she added. “It is important to ensure motorists follow regulations so traffic is able to move freely and safely.”

Westminster was the borough that issued the most penalties with 684,000.
Last year Prudence Fay, 69, won a case against the council after receiving a £120 fine based on photo evidence faked by a warden.

Danny Chalkley, Westminster's cabinet member for city management, said more than half a million vehicles entered the borough a day which was bound to result in a high number of offences: “Every penny of surplus income from parking is ploughed straight back into transport improvements,” he added.

'I've lost 30% of my business'

Ruggerro Acar, 51, owner of Verdi Ristorante:“Two years ago there were much more restrictive traffic wardens. Now the council's parking rules are not so bad. We need to be reasonable, to think of ourselves and other people.”

Nikki Cottrell, 30, manager of estate agent Frank Harris: “A couple of [contractors] would risk pulling over to pop in, and a couple have had tickets. It's a frustration. I have to get our deliveries taken to our Bloomsbury office.”

Alan Mays, 45, delivery driver for two firms:“Now the council's taken over [giving tickets] it's a lot worse. Now it's cameras or wardens and there's no discretion. They have to keep London flowing but it's a nightmare.”

Thomas Sacker, 66, owner of florist Bonnie Blooms:“I've lost 30 per cent of my business because people can't park. Even with people coming to pick up funeral flowers, they can't stop. It's money-motivated for councils.”

Top 10 hotspots for fines

1. Station Road, Harrow (Harrow) Fines: 28,884
2. Southampton Row (Camden) Fines: 22,275
3. Chiswick High Road (Hounslow) Fines: 18,668
4. Queensway (Westminster) Fines: 12,464
5. Ripple Road, Barking (Barking & Dagenham) Fines: 12,266
6. Herbert Road, Southall (Ealing) Fines: 9,645
7. Fore Street(Enfield) Fines: 8,789
8. Lea Bridge Road (Waltham Forest) Fines: 7,719
9. Uxbridge High Street (Hillingdon) Fines: 6,425
10. Golders Green Road (Barnet) Fines: 5,868
*Local authority in brackets.

Council comes clean on parking ticket rules

Praise again to Sheffield City Council for 'doing the right thing.'
If parking enforcement is ever going to gain any public respect then the 'Sheffield Model' needs to become the industry standard. Full transparency and, when mistakes are made, public contrition. An apology and an admission of a mistake goes a long way. Cover-ups, obfuscation and evasion especially from public servants sticks in the throat.

What we will be revealing in the coming weeks will be pretty startling BUT there will be a new dawn on the 28th January 2010 when 'the future' will be revealed. However, it is set to become a very public and painful time for those (paid for with yours and my hard earned taxes) who have believed that they were above the law.

Lawyers have confirmed that they are available and prepared to act for whistleblowers. Whistleblowers have confirmed that they have evidence of 'malpractice, misconduct and fraud.'

What is set to break in the coming months will make MPs expenses and the banking scandal look pretty benign when it is revealed how the motorists of this country have been fleeced by the biggest highway robbery in history.

The Star
06 January 2010
By Richard Marsden

RULES on when motorists can be granted exemptions from parking tickets and bus gate fines are being published by Sheffield Council for the first time.
It follows concern about people making appeals against fines citing sometimes bizarre reasons.

Kevan Butt, Sheffield Council's parking services manager, said: "Sometimes there are compelling circumstances when we recognise exemptions apply.
"We have always tried to be transparent, consistent and fair. We are now making our enforcement policy a public document so people can see for themselves what the rules are."

Mr Butt said some slight relaxations of current policy are proposed, set to be approved by Sheffield Council's cabinet next Wednesday.

These include giving delivery vehicles – exempt from restrictions while parked up to drop off their cargo – up to 10 minutes grace instead of the current five when nobody is seen coming and going from the vehicle.

If they are left unattended for longer, they will be ticketed but in some circumstances delivery vehicles can be left for up to half an hour as long as the business agrees this with the council in advance.

Unusual appeals against parking tickets cited excuses such as parking in a permit bay "to catch a cheating boyfriend" and a pensioner who said they were late returning to their car because they had been "modelling nude in a life art class".

One person even told of an "embarrassing personal incident" which left them suddenly needing to buy new underwear.

- The document will be published on the council's website at once the changes have been approved by cabinet.

Cats now preparing to leave bags in their droves

Across the country it is starting to become apparent that parking enforcement is costing councils money. If revenue is down then enforcement policy is working and therefore becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

However, it is not about keeping the streets clear and traffic moving. It is about money and the cat is out of the bag (or at least a number will be in the coming weeks).

Councillors should not be talking about 'business models' and 'making cash' and, as the High Court case Camden v Cran before Justice McCullough in 1995 reaffirmed, councils cannot use parking enforcement to raise revenue.

Too many councils have come to rely on this revenue to fill the holes in their budgets ... hence the increasing drive towards more Draconian Enforcement. I am sure that Cllr. Letheren will regret letting Bucks be the first cat out of the bag.

New parking meters will be fought, Buckinghamshire County Council boss says Wednesday 13th January 2010
By Oliver Evans

BIDS to put more parking meters in Buckinghamshire streets will be met with fierce opposition, a transport boss has warned.

Councillor Val Letheren said councils which took over traffic warden duties are struggling to make cash - but plugging the gap with new meters would face resistance.
Residents are 'very very anti' new parking meters, she warned and pointed to a successful campaign against the introduction of on street charges in Amersham old town.
Wycombe, Chiltern and Aylesbury councils, which manage wardens, are now in a 'terrible dilemma' over how to break even, she said.

The Buckinghamshire County Council transport boss said: "The business model is just not working."
Cllr Letheren, cabinet member for transportation, said: "Our attempts to change this appear to have not been very successful given what's happened in Amersham."

The problem could be tackled by getting a private firm to enforce regulations on councils' behalf, she said.
Yet Cllr Letheren said: "They wouldn't be as nice as the district ones. They might enforce signs and lines more efficiently. That is where you get the income."

She was addressing the council's 'examination of the budget and medium term plan task and finish group', which is looking into the proposed BCC budget for 2010/11.
Wycombe District Council took over warden duties in October 2008 for all the district. It has said wardens are not target driven and profits go back into the service.
Click the links below for more parking stories.

Who is watching the watchers?

Daily Mail
12th January 2010

CCTV cameras are being used to issue 'ghost' parking tickets by 34 councils, generating £3million a year in fines.
The cameras record parking rule infringements, with automated fine notices then sent to the vehicle's owner.
Always watching: CCTV parking fines amount to
£3million a year

More councils are expected to soon adopt the technology.
Motoring groups say 'ghost' tickets are unfair, as it makes matters more difficult for motorists hoping to mount an appeal.

They also argue the cameras cannot tell an illegally parked car from one with a disabled permit, or from a car that has been briefly stopped so the driver can consult a map.
AA president Edmund King said: 'We regard them as 'ghost tickets' because drivers are unaware of their alleged offence for some time afterwards.
'These tickets are very hard to challenge because drivers are in no position to check the roadside signs or whether the ticket was issued by mistake.'

Throughout England, 265 local authorities collected £328million in parking fines last year - more than three times as much as speed cameras raked in.
Fines range from £120 in London to £70 elsewhere, with a 50 per cent discount offered for offenders who pay their fine within 14 days.
Cameras help authorities issue tickets for parking over yellow or red lines, in bus zones, on zig zags or in a restricted bay.

Not fair': AA boss Edmund King said because motorists didn't know they had been fined until afterwards, it was more difficult to check signs and mount an appeal

Most councils issuing fines based on camera evidence are in London.

Westminster is one London council using the technology. It saw the number of fines increase by almost 100,000 a year to 823,836, while in Enfield, north London, camera-generated tickets accounted for 40 per cent of all parking fines in the first year.

Department for Transport advice says the cameras should only be used where it is too difficult for personnel to issue tickets.
A Local Government Association spokesman told the Telegraph: 'Councils will not apologise for giving out parking tickets to stop cars parking illegally.
'If people do not want a parking ticket, they should not park illegally.'

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Is the Traffic Penalty Tribunal independent and impartial? You decide

The lady on the left is Caroline Sheppard, the Chief Adjudicator for the Traffic Penalty Tribunal of England and Wales.

The Traffic Penalty Tribunal's only source of income is 60p from every Penalty Charge Notice issued in the country (outside of London).
After over two years of obfuscation and evasion, including a side-stepped Parliamentary Question we have finally received answers to questions ... but only after we raised the objection with the District Auditor. It has been decided to place this information in the public domain. This material was not disclosed by the Traffic Penalty Tribunal in the recent application to the High Court.
Even Lord Adonis, the Secretary of State for Transport seemed unable to provide the answer.

However, perhaps the following answers will assist Lord Adonis and Central Government. The first is from Manchester City Council:

However, the most damning revelation and one which seems in clear breach of Article 6(i) ECHR has been provided by Sarah Howard of Grant Thornton, the District Auditor for the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.

There is a further case pending before the High Court.
It is Glenn Dickinson v The Parking Adjudicator and Glenn raised the point that the Traffic Penalty Tribunal were not independent or impartial. This evidence has been made available to Glenn. The date for his case has yet to be fixed.
The Yorkshire Post reported on Glenn's case earlier in the year:
The Motorists Legal Challenge Fund, fighting for justice on behalf of Britain's Motorists is ready to support this and other cases.

£Millions of parking fines unpaid ...

Look at the figures for Leeds and then look at the piece we did with BBC. Government Officers alleging theft and extortion. As more and more evidence is gathered across the country it is only a matter of time before more and more is exposed. My repeated attempts to get a Leeds City Counil parking ticket to adjudication have failed. The Council have cancelled EVERY PCN issued. However, they have not done so for other motorists issued in the same locations.

400,000 parking fines as councils owed millions
Yorkshire Post
11 January 2010
By Jack Blanchard

Traffic warden hot-spots where motorists are more likely to be hit with a parking ticket than anywhere else in the region, are revealed by the Yorkshire Post today.
Figures released under the Freedom of Information act show more than 400,000 parking tickets were given out by council traffic wardens in Yorkshire last year – about one for every five motorists in the region.The fines brought in more than £10m in revenue for Yorkshire's local authorities during the 2008/09 financial year. But it has emerged millions more are still owed to councils in unpaid fines dating back a year or more – including more than £5.4m owed to Leeds City Council alone.

Our investigation reveals Yorkshire's worst street for parking tickets is Clarendon Road in the Woodhouse area of Leeds, where traffic wardens handed out more than 3,000 tickets last year. Close behind was Cookridge Road, also in Leeds, with Sheffield's Ecclesall Road in third place.The car park where motorists are most likely to receive a ticket is the Castle car park by Clifford's Tower in York, where more than 1,800 fines were issued during 2008/09.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Leeds City Council issued by far the most parking tickets in the region. About a third of all parking tickets handed out in Yorkshire are issued in Leeds.The council's team of 84 traffic wardens handed out nearly 350 tickets a day throughout last year, bringing in £3.3m in revenue for the authority. A spokesman said: "Leeds is the largest city in the region and we would expect to issue the most parking tickets, collect the most money and have the most unpaid fines – despite our collection rate being higher than the national average."Parking tickets are only ever issued where motorists have parked outside of restrictions which are quite clearly marked and visible."

Leeds's total of more than 127,000 parking tickets was more than double that of Sheffield, the next-largest city. However, Sheffield oversaw by far the largest year-on-year increase in parking fines last year – 30 per cent more tickets were issued than during the previous year.Sheffield has also introduced the biggest rise in traffic warden numbers. The city council now employs 54 enforcement officers, up from 36 four years ago. Our study also shows rural councils employ very few traffic wardens and hand out very few tickets. This is partly because many smaller authorities have opted not to decriminalise on-street parking offences, leaving ticketing in the hands of police. Councils such as Selby therefore only enforce parking in its own car parks. Selby employs just three part-time parking inspectors and issued 241 tickets last year.

This is the BBC piece on Leeds City Council's parking enforcement regime. You be the judge of its legality. The most powerful quote was not used in the excert above so it is listed below and forms part of the file handed to the Police. The names of the Government officials have been obscured but the Police are aware of their identity.

"... attempted fraud or extortion..."
not my words but the words of one Goverment official to another. Hard to believe? The document we managed to get our hands on (along with many others just as damning, is shown below).

Monday, January 11, 2010

Parking Enforcement and Organised Crime

This is perhaps the 'cartoon of the moment' when it comes to parking enforcement.

Matters about to break in the coming weeks which will launch a firestorm across the country.

Parking ... a lawless industry out of control.

The 'rotten apples' need removing from the barrel in the most public of fashions to allow those who believe in operating a fair, transparent and accountable public service to do just that.

We are pretty tolerant of most things in this country but will fight to the ends of the earth at great personal risk and cost to expose injustice and unfairness.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Storm Clouds gathering over Bolton

Barry Moss is just an 'ordinary,' 63 year-old retired roofer. However, he is passionate about justice and fair play and due to his dogged determination he is very soon going to be before the High Court with what could be a pivotal moment for Britain's motorists.

Barry (left) first hit front page headlines in Bolton in 2007 when he represented his daughter-in-law at a parking tribunal
The case made front page of the Bolton Evening News and now, three years later and after more campaigning and investigating by Barry and evasion and obfuscation by Bolton Council it looks like the issues which Barry and others have uncovered have serious financial implications not only for Bolton but also for every other council in the country who have used road markings which did not comply with the law.

Further investigations revealed massive failings in Bolton's on-street as well as off-street bays and more headlines followed.
The Bolton Evening News broke this news in November 2007

"A report to councillors yesterday conceded that most bay markings did not comply with the Traffic Sign Regulations from the Department for Transport, highlighting problems including the bay lengths and dimensions of white line markings."

There followed another National Parking Adjudication Service decision this time by respected adjudicator, Mark Hinchcliffe which included a statement from John Munns at the Department for Transport in which he remarked that that the bay in question was 'unlawful.'

The implications of Barry's case are enormous and he is seeking a declaration from the High Court that there are unlawful items of account in Bolton's accounts and, as such, these will have to be refunded. This will impact on all similar cases across the country.
You can support Barry's case at The Motorists Legal Challenge.

In allowing the appeal the adjudicator reinforced the decision of adjudicator Gary Hickinbottom (now a High Court Judge) in Burnett v Buckinghamshire County Council where he concluded (note TSRGD 2002 has replaced TSRGD 1994):

Furthermore, although not relevant to this particular case (in which there was no sign at all), not only must the traffic sign must be present, it must also comply with The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 1994 (SI 1994 No 1519) (“the 1994 Regulations”) (Section 64(2) of the 1984 Act): and the 1984 Act makes clear that the signing of parking restrictions etc. by a local authority in pursuance of its powers under the provisions of the 1984 Act with which we are here concerned must comply with those regulations (Section 68(2)).

There is an express prohibition of signs that do not comply (Section 64(4)).

The 1994 Regulations are over 350 pages long and, in meticulous detail, they provide for every particular of permitted signs - including the type, size, colour and dimensions.

Consequently, in summary, as a condition precedent of a local authority enforcing a parking penalty as a breach of a TRO made under the 1984 Act, the obligations of the motorist must be properly signed in accordance with the detailed provisions of the 1994 Regulations."

Saturday, January 09, 2010

A timely reminder of why we are at the High Court ...

It has been a long journey. The investigation began in 2005 and it took over a hundred cancelled tickets before the council 'dared' go to adjudication.

This is what NCP were up to in Sunderland and what was revealed in an award winning BBC Inside Out Documentary. However, the Parking Attendants' behaviour grabbed the headlines. The council officers' behaviour is yet to be revealed.

To get 'decriminalised' powers in 2003 certain Sunderland City Council officers 'misled' the Secretary of State. Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) allows councils to keep the money issued from parking fines, rather than the money going into a central pot. That is why revenue from parking has hit £1.9 billion per annum.

The number of fines in Sunderland went from 3000 before DPE in 2003 to 30,000 after. More will be revealed in the coming weeks and we will start to publish (in the public interest) all the documents released by the Government Office for the North East and the Department for Transport which will show how many people knew what was going on yet not one Governemnt official was prepared to intervene to prevent motorists being fined illegally.

The following Youtube clips will help to set the scene ...

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Are Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) ready to collapse?

Department for Transport thinks so.

Check out the link here. These documents and presentation were released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Police ordered to investigate

With this new Home Office initiative it is going to be diffcult to for Police dismiss claims of misconduct by council officials as simply 'civil matters.' With some very serious investigations pending and some serious allegations of criminality about to enter the public domain it is only a matter of time before the civil parking enforcement industry is brought into the public spotlight. The years of lawless, unregulated behaviour is reaching the end of the line.

Police ordered to investigate all incidents
Police are to be forced to fully investigate every case reported to them under new Home Office rules to prevent victims' complaints being dismissed too quickly.
By Tom Whitehead,
Home Affairs Editor
16 Dec 2009

Officers will have to provide "hard evidence" that no crime occurred before writing off an incident following concerns by the police watchdog that genuine offences are being wrongly rejected.
The new guidelines, which have the backing of police chiefs, mean officers will have to give every report their full attention and makes it far more likely that they will visit any alleged victim.

Police forces are under growing pressure to commit to attend every single victim of crime who wants to see them, a policy that now has the backing of several senior figures including the Home Secretary.
There are concerns that some alleged offences, from serious assaults and rapes to theft and criminal damage, are too quickly dismissed as unfounded because they believe the victim or witness is lying or wrong.

Now they will have to demonstrate to senior officers that cases and available evidence were properly examined before deciding whether a crime occurred.
That will include independent evidence that no offence took place, such as CCTV images, witness statements or even images from mobile phone cameras belonging to members of the public.

However, rank and file leaders warned the demands will only lead to yet more bureaucracy for officers and time spent chasing incidents that are clearly not crimes.

A spokeswoman for Victim Support said: “We are glad the government is taking this issue seriously because if victims feel their experience of crime is being dismissed by the very agencies that are meant to deal with the situation that risks adding insult to injury.
"But as well as making sure crimes are recorded properly, the police need to do more to promote the help available to victims and witnesses of crime.”

Guy Dehn, director of the charity Witness Confident, welcomed the rules and said it will lead to police giving more attention to victims and witnesses.
He said one of the key causes for a lack of faith in policing is a belief that nothing will be done even if a crime is reported.
"If there is a message coming from politicians and police leaders that when cases are reported they will be looked in to and dealt with properly that will increase public confidence and more people will believe it is worthwhile engaging in the criminal justice system," he said.

In October, Denis O'Connor, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, warned that violent assaults and domestic attacks were being wrongly written off when they should have been treated as crimes and fully investigated.

In a joint response to that report, the Home Office and Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) have drawn up new rules that officers will now have to back up any decision to write off an incident as a so-called "no crime" with "additional verifiable information".
Officers will no longer be able to dismiss an alleged offence simply because they think the victim is lying.

It is estimated that around 200,000 incidents are dismissed as not a crime each year, which in future will now require more time and resources before being rejected.

The Home Office/Acpo report said: "It is important that the public feel confident and comfortable reporting crime to the police. The accurate recording of those crimes is then essential to ensuring that each person who has unfortunately found themselves a victim of crime receives the appropriate level of response and support.
"No crimes are required to have sufficient 'additional verifiable information' (AVI) which demonstrates that the incident recorded as a crime was not actually one in practice.
"The expectation is that 'hard' evidence such as CCTV footage would be used. 'Soft' evidence, for example the belief of the reporting officer that the victim was lying without verifiable supporting information is not adequate."

The police inspectorate found that, in a sample of 479 "no crimes", one in three decisions was wrong. One in 20 should have been recorded as a serious violent crime, and a third should have been recorded as a less serious assault.

If repeated across all forces, it would mean 5,000 victims of violence alone being ignored. Among the cases was a woman left battered and bruised after her partner slapped her, grabbed her by the neck and threw her to the floor. The unnamed force recorded no crime as having taken place. It should have recorded actual bodily harm, the inspectorate found.
In another case, a victim needed six stitches to his head after he was set upon. The inspectorate said that should have been recorded as grievous bodily harm.
Mr O'Connor said the findings on crime reporting were "of concern" while David Hanson, the policing minister, called wrong decisions "unacceptable".
Fresh guidance on what is sufficient supporting evidence is to be drawn up and circulated by February.

However, Simon Reed, vice-chairman of the Police Federation, said: "We are going to end up investigating every incident to prove no crime has happened.
"We need to trust the officer's discretion. All we are doing is making the whole process more bureaucratic.
"Let's use our supervisors in the role they are designed to do. They should be looking at these crime reports when they come in."

Chris Grayling, the shadow Home Secretary, said: "This Government’s reputation over its use of crime figures is so shot to pieces that frankly most people will think that Labour Ministers are engaged in yet another attempt to massage figures for their own political advantage."

Mr Hanson said, "The public and the government expect crime to be taken seriously and for crime statistics to be recorded accurately.
"Accurate recording of crimes is essential to ensure every victim receives the level of service and support they expect and deserve.
"The majority of forces perform well when classifying crime but the actions we are taking forward as a result of the HMIC recommendations will go even further to make sure the recording rules are properly applied."

Last month Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, said the principle that police should visit every victim of crime, no matter how minor the offence, was "absolutely right".
His comments echoed those of Jacqui Smith, his predecessor, Mr O'Connor and Chief Constable Julie Spence, for Acpo.
Shortly before stepping down as Chief Constable of Merseyside, Bernard Hogan-Howe said in September that police who refuse to visit every crime victim are guilty of "arrogance".
The issue was first brought to the fore last year by the then Chief Constable of Essex, Roger Baker, who advocated such a policy. By the end of the year, eight forces had promised it.

Monday, January 04, 2010

£1,900,000,000 per annum and rising ...

Everything is now coming to a head and 2010 will be the year when this stealth tax is exposed and replaced with fair, proportionate, transparent and LEGAL enforcement.

Motorists hit by higher parking fees and fines
Local councils raised £1.9 billion from parking fees and fines last year, with some doubling the amount of money they squeeze out of motorists.

By James Kirkup, Political CorrespondentPublished: 9:00AM GMT 04 Jan 2010

Councils have increased parking fees and fines Photo: HEATHCLIFF O'MALLEY
Official financial returns from more than 400 local authorities for 2008/2009 show that the drivers are paying increasing amounts of money for parking their vehicles.
In 2005/06, the amount collected from parking fines, fees and permits was £1.7 billion, meaning the total has risen by 13 per cent.

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Some councils increased their parking revenues by much more than the national average.
North Wiltshire’s parking revenue more than doubled, from £752,000 to £1.6 million. In North Tyneside, the increase was 94 per cent. The biggest parking revenues were in Westminster, which took in £180 million last year, a 19 per cent rise.

The disclosure comes as it emerged that motorists guilty of minor offences such as parking misdemeanours are to be hit with a £15 surcharge to help victims of domestic violence or sex attacks.

The fee will be added to fixed penalty tickets given out by police for offences such as breaking parking regulations or speeding.

The figures on parking charges were revealed in official council financial returns submitted to the Department of Communities and Local Government.
The figures cover money paid for tickets in council car parks, sales of residents’ parking permits, and fines imposed for illegal parking.

Some councils have increased their income simply by raising parking fees. In Wolverhampton, the cost of staying for two hours in one of its car parks, at Fold Street, jumped from £1.20 to £1.50 between 2006 and 2009 while the cost of three hours at the Civic Centre, rose from £2.30 to £2.50.

The council's total take from parking fines and charges over the same period climbed from £3 million to £4.6 million over the three years, a jump of 53 per cent.
Separate figures published in November suggested that illegal parking fines raised more than £300 million for councils this year.

Privately, some council leaders say they have been forced to raise more money from parking because council tax and central government grants are not covering their rising costs.
Peter Roberts of the Drivers’ Alliance, a motoring group, said parking costs can hurt local businesses.

He said: “These figures will reinforce the belief from the driving public that they are being used as motorised cash machines by a government desperate for money.
“With the economy in dire straits and businesses needing customers, encouraging visitors to towns should be a priority.
"Instead we see insatiable money-hungry councils charging excessive parking fees which not only leave people with less spending money but also dissuades them from visiting.
"It is time for a reality check and less of the fleece-the-driver mentality.“

Jennifer Dunn, Policy Analyst at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said the figures showed councils are using drivers as “cash cow”.
She said: “Councils are generating huge amounts of revenue through parking, which has clearly become an increasingly lucrative source of income to finance rapidly growing bureaucracies in the local authorities.
“With council tax having doubled across the country, motorists in some areas where parking revenue has also doubled are being treated as cash cows.
"It is time for local government to stop seeing drivers as a means to plug their finances and acknowledge the benefits they bring to local economies, particularly in the recession.”

The Local Government Association, which speaks for councils in England, insisted that any money councils get from parking is reinvested in improving the local transport network.
Defending the use of parking fines, the LGA said: “Parking restrictions are in place to keep people safe on our streets, stop traffic jams and keep roads clear for the emergency services.
"Councils will not apologise for giving out parking tickets to stop cars parking illegally.”

Nice little earner, nice little street in Leicester

The question has to be asked of the council is that 'if the signs are clear and unambiguous why are so many people being issued with penalties?'
This is not managing restricted kerbspace, it is exploiting it.

£40,000 in fines issued on one of Leicester's smallest streets
Monday, January 04, 2010,
Parking wardens have issued more than £40,000 worth of fines in one small city street during the course of three years.
East Street, in the city centre, is just 400ft long, but has been the focus of so many tickets one driver believes it is a "trap" for motorists.
During the past year, 552 tickets have been issued to motorists parking on the single yellow lines in the road, with 223 of those handed out on Sundays.
One of those caught out was Adam Krupa, from Oadby, who was fined after parking there in November. He has refused to pay his £70 fine and says he will go to court to challenge the case.
Mr Krupa claims the street is seen as a parking warden's "bread and butter" and signs which warn drivers it is illegal to park there are too small and in the wrong place.
TIN.adverts.adWriteDC('article-detail-impact-tile', '452x118');

After getting the fine, Mr Krupa used the Freedom of Information Act to ask Leicester City Council how much money it had collected from other motorists in East Street since it took over parking enforcement – and discovered it was £40,000.
He said: "One of the biggest shocks was the amount of revenue generated from this tiny street.
"I'd parked for 10 minutes and went into Dunelm Mill opposite – when I got back I'd got the ticket.
"After speaking to people, I'm told this is happening day in, day out, and that everybody is getting caught because they think they can park there.
"Double yellow lines should be painted and the signs are too small – it really is a trap."
The fine for parking on yellow lines is £70, which is reduced to £35 if it is paid within 14 days.
Kim Pelham, manager of Dunelm Mill, which sells soft furnishings and home wares in East Street, agreed.
He said: "It happens all the time, especially on a Sunday.
"There are usually three or four wardens out there waiting for people, they know it's hard to tell if you can park there. The signs aren't very clear and they should really paint double yellow lines."
Last year, more than 56,000 tickets were given out in the city – equivalent to £3.6m in fines. In 2007, 65,000 tickets were issued.
According to Mr Krupa's Freedom of Information request, the most common reasons people were ticketed in East Street was because they contravened rules against waiting and loading.
Under Traffic Signs and General Directions 2002 legislation, signs on the street show no parking is allowed from 7.30am to 6pm, and no loading between 4pm and 6pm Monday to Friday.
A city council spokesman said: "The signage in East Street meets all of the requirements of the relevant legislation.
"Single yellow lines always denote parking restrictions and these restrictions are clearly shown on the signs on East Street.
"In all such areas the onus is on motorists to assure themselves that they are obeying the appropriate parking restrictions for the area concerned."
Since Leicester City Council took over the enforcement of on-street parking from the police in 2007, more than 30,000 parking tickets have been challenged.
Cash generated from parking tickets must, by law, be spent on transport projects such as concessionary travel fares for pensioners.

Just a reminder of what we are up against ...

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Bill of Rights Pandora's Box set to be re-opened

This is most certainly going to re-open the conflict between the Bill of Rights 1689, parking fines and the Metric Martyrs judgment.
If, as is claimed, the Bill of Rights 1689 is still in force and contains enshrined constitutional provisions, then we need to re-examine this section:
That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before
conviction are illegal and void;

What flows from this is that EVERY decriminalised parking fine imposed by a council is illegal and void as it is a fine which has not been imposed by the courts. Robin Decrittenden argued this before Justice Collins but was told that a parking ticket was not a fine it was a civil responsibility and that the Bill of Rights had been impliedly repealed by later statutes thereby conflicting with the Metric Martyrs Judgment which ruled certain acts had constitutional significance.
The Council had also 'no contested' the case therefore there was technically no fine or forfeiture.

Perhaps it is time for Mr. Decrittenden to get another parking ticket.

MPs claim they are above the law in expenses fraud case
Claire Newell, Jonathan Calvert, Jonathan Oliver
Sunday Times January 3, 2010

Jim Devine is alleged to have submitted a claim using a receipt bearing a bogus VAT number
Three Labour MPs being investigated for expenses fraud are arguing that they should not be prosecuted because their suspect claims are covered by parliamentary privilege.

The MPs have hired legal experts to assert that the 1689 Bill of Rights protects them from prosecution.

The lawyers are understood to have sent detailed submissions to police and prosecutors which contend that the House of Commons rule book on expenses is “privileged” and cannot be subject to scrutiny by the courts. More ...

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Bah Humbug

Humbugs for 'Scrooge' councillors
BBC 24th December 2009

Getting a ticket is unlikely to leave you full of festive cheer
A motorists' group angry about the decision of "Scrooge-like" councils to issue tickets on Boxing Day has given a bag of humbugs to one authority.
Fifteen out of 32 London councils are not recognising 26 December as a bank holiday and will charge as usual.

To protest, London Motorists Action Group (LMAG) has given Westminster Council - with London's highest parking revenue - a bag of mint humbugs.
The council said 26 December is one of the year's busiest shopping days.

But LMAG Director Richard Chaumeton said: "Westminster is the biggest council and should be leading by example and make Boxing Day parking free out of a spirit of goodwill.
"The councillors' Ebenezer Scrooge-like attitude conveys an impression of money-grabbing greed."
Mr Chaumeton added: "We hope they enjoy their humbugs - courtesy of LMAG."

This smacks more of opportunism rather than a desire to keep traffic moving
Neil Herron Parking campaigner

The catchphrase of Charles Dickens' famous Christmas-hating miser Ebenezer Scrooge was: "Bah humbug!"
Westminster Council made £72m from parking last year, more than any other London borough.

Kevin Goad, Westminster Council's head of parking, said: "We understand parking enforcement is not popular but it is necessary - particularly on Boxing Day which is one of the busiest shopping days.
"Normal parking controls will apply on 26 December as it is not a bank holiday.
"We will be offering free parking to motorists on 28 December instead."

Meanwhile Neil Herron, who runs the Parking Appeals website, has promised his services free of charge to anyone ticketed on Saturday.
Of the decision to charge, Mr Herron said: "With all public buildings closed on what is widely regarded as a public holiday by all, this smacks more of opportunism rather than a desire to keep traffic moving."

The following London councils will charge for parking on Saturday:
Barking and Dagenham
Hammersmith and Fulham
Kensington and Chelsea

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