Motorists who appeal against parking tickets should automatically get a 25 per cent discount on their fines, according to the House of Commons’ Transport Select committee.
A new report published today suggests the strategy would encourage drivers to challenge dubious tickets, as they currently lose the automatic 50 per cent discount for early payment.
The report also recommends a five-minute period of grace for motorists returning to their car after their parking allocation has expired, and a ban on spy cameras being used to issue tickets.
The recommendations come as part of plans for a crackdown on unscrupulous parking firms and local councils who are unfairly penalising motorists to generate extra revenue.
There is a deep-rooted public perception that parking enforcement is used as a cash cow
Under the plans, councils would be forced to publish annual parking charge reports detailing exactly where revenue is being generated and how it is being spent.
Committee chairman Louise Ellman, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, said: “There is a deep-rooted public perception that parking enforcement is used as a cash cow, so it's essential that local authorities apply stringent transparency.”
“Annual parking accounts would allow the public to see how much local revenue is derived from the enforcement of fines, and what proportion of this come from on or off-street parking charges.
“It's right that parking charges be determined locally, but hard to justify fines that substantially exceed penalties for more serious offences like speeding.”
She went on to say that that local councils have amassed a parking surplus in recent years, an amount the RAC Foundation estimates is around £565million in 2011/12 alone.
This is expected to rise to £635million in 2013/14 – generated through a combination of both parking charges and penalty fines.
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