Talking Point: Should parking fines be lower for 'minor offences'?

Wandsworth Guardian: The Government may abolish minimum rates for parking penalty changes The Government may abolish minimum rates for parking penalty changes

Parking fines could be reduced and grace periods introduced, the Government has said, following criticism that councils use parking enforcement as a "cash cow".

The Department for Transport is considering legal options to abolish the minimum rates for parking penalty charges to allow local authorities to lower fines for minor parking violations.

It today formally responded to a Commons Transport Select Committee report published last year which found "a deep rooted perception that local authorities view parking enforcement as a cash cow".

It also said it was "hard to justify parking fines that are substantially more than the fines for more serious offences like speeding".

Last year the Local Government Association calculated councils made a £411m surplus from both on and off street parking in 2011-12, while the RAC Foundation said the figure was £565m.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said parking fines need to be proportionate and urged councils to be more transparent.

"Parking can be big business for councils with English local authorities making a profit of almost £600 million between them last year," he said.

What do you think? Should there be more flexibility for councils when penalising parking infringements?

Yesterday's poll result:

Comments (3)

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12:17pm Fri 10 Jan 14

Michael Pantlin says...

Some irresponsible drivers would treat cheap parking fines as a fee to park where they like. Fines need to be felt. I saw a car blocking the road by the Grapes and the congestion was enormous with buses trapped to not going anywhere for over 20 minutes. Fines need to reflect the stress and inconvenience caused to others.
Some irresponsible drivers would treat cheap parking fines as a fee to park where they like. Fines need to be felt. I saw a car blocking the road by the Grapes and the congestion was enormous with buses trapped to not going anywhere for over 20 minutes. Fines need to reflect the stress and inconvenience caused to others. Michael Pantlin

12:31pm Fri 10 Jan 14

DB says...

Personally, I find the cost of parking tickets/meters to be virtually like a fine anyway. I am lucky that I never have to pay them.

I do think that there should be a grace period where the fines should be reduced. If someone is parked safely in a marked bay, but over-runs their ticket by 5 minutes it seems a bit unfair to make them pay a full £80 fine. Perhaps the cost of the extra parking plus an admin fee would be more appropriate.

As Michael says, it would not make any sense to reduce fines for people who park dangerously or inconsiderately in the first place, because then we would surely just get more of that type of behaviour?
Personally, I find the cost of parking tickets/meters to be virtually like a fine anyway. I am lucky that I never have to pay them. I do think that there should be a grace period where the fines should be reduced. If someone is parked safely in a marked bay, but over-runs their ticket by 5 minutes it seems a bit unfair to make them pay a full £80 fine. Perhaps the cost of the extra parking plus an admin fee would be more appropriate. As Michael says, it would not make any sense to reduce fines for people who park dangerously or inconsiderately in the first place, because then we would surely just get more of that type of behaviour? DB

9:52am Sat 11 Jan 14

buggsie says...

You only have to look at selfish cars parkers on Sundays when a lot of Parking Restrictions are cancelled.
If I have to pay to park I don't go - everyone loses out - shops, petrol stations, cinemas - so tough - when businesses start closing there is your answer.
Would be nice to see the income made from parking fines used to improve and widen roads - over 1 million new homes built in Wandsworth down by the river and yet still the narrow one lane either way roads. Whilst on the subject of narrow roads - it would be good if Wandsworth banned some of these huge HGVs which are ruining our road surfaces and must be damaging our old bridges - at least one a day has to reverse in Vicarage Crescent/Lombard Road because they can't get under Wandsworth Railway Bridge.
You only have to look at selfish cars parkers on Sundays when a lot of Parking Restrictions are cancelled. If I have to pay to park I don't go - everyone loses out - shops, petrol stations, cinemas - so tough - when businesses start closing there is your answer. Would be nice to see the income made from parking fines used to improve and widen roads - over 1 million new homes built in Wandsworth down by the river and yet still the narrow one lane either way roads. Whilst on the subject of narrow roads - it would be good if Wandsworth banned some of these huge HGVs which are ruining our road surfaces and must be damaging our old bridges - at least one a day has to reverse in Vicarage Crescent/Lombard Road because they can't get under Wandsworth Railway Bridge. buggsie

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