Parking system overhaulGovernment says system needs to be fairer
12 July 2006
Councils will only be able to use wheel clamping to tackle the 'most persistent' parking offenders under new guidelines revealed today.
The government has launched a consultation into local authority parking enforcement after admitting the current system needs to be improved and should be fairer to motorists.
Its new guidelines also propose special training for those involved in parking enforcement and an easier-to-follow appeal process.
Decriminalised parking enforcement - actions against offenders taken by councils rather than the police - will now be referred to as civil parking enforcement. Parking attendants will be known as civil enforcement officers.
The government's plans, which are expected to take effect by the middle of next year, also include more transparency and information for road users with authorities publishing their policies and reports.
Keep traffic moving
It is also proposing to give more powers to independent adjudicators to intervene where procedures have not been followed properly as well as targeting persistent parking offenders through a nationwide database.
Secretary of State for Transport Douglas Alexander said:
'The government is determined to see a parking system that is fairer and more consistent. These proposals are a significant stride towards achieving that goal. We have listened to motorists and it is clear that the current system needs to be improved.
'Taken together, the proposals in this draft guidance will strengthen the system of civil parking enforcement and help local authorities tackle local congestion and keep the traffic moving.'
The consultation comes just weeks after MPs slammed Britain's parking system as a mess which needs a major overhaul.
The parliamentary Transport Committee said there needed to be a single, national system - rather than the current arrangement in which police enforce parking restrictions in some areas and councils in others.
The report also highlighted flaws including unclear lines and signage which cause confusion for many drivers.
This backs Which? research published last November which found that one in four motorists didn't know where they were allowed to park, while many had no idea about the circumstances in which they could appeal against parking tickets or clamping.
The proposals from the government today refer only to England, with the Welsh Assembly planning a similar consultation exercise soon.