Minister gets tough with councils who see parking fines as a revenue boost.
Local councils who issue parking tickets as a way of milking motorists for cash have had a stern warning.
New laws take effect this month that forbid councils from using parking enforcement as a way to raise money.
Wardens should not work to targets for the number of tickets they write, and wheel clamping should be used only against drivers who persistently flout the law.
The changes form part of the Traffic Management Act. This instructs council to focus on parking that causes the most disruption or danger – such as unauthorised use of space reserved for disabled drivers or on the approaches to pedestrian crossings.
Other, less serious offences should attract lower fines. Councils will have to do more to explain their parking policies to drivers, and to display penalty charges fairly. Parking tickets will, for the first time, have to include details of how to appeal against fines.
Independent parking adjudicators will also get more power, including the right to ask council to reconsider fines where motorists have good reasons to be let off. The changes will also, for the first time, allow councils outside London to use CCTV to enforce parking rules.
But they can do so only where it would be ‘impractical or dangerous’ for a warden to patrol. ‘These regulations will help make parking enforcement fairer, clear and more open,’ said Transport Minister Rosie Winterton.