New parking rights for drivers and shoppers now in effect

Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, today welcomed the legal commencement of new rights for drivers against unreasonable parking fines, and warned the chaos of a Labour Government would mean higher parking charges and fines.

·           From 6 April, councils in England are now legally obliged to give drivers a 10 minute grace period before issuing a parking fine for over-staying in a parking space. This applies to on-street and off-street parking, for free and paid-for spaces.

·           Since 1 April, councils are also prohibited from using CCTV for parking enforcement, other than in the new tightly limited areas of bus lanes, bus stops, red routes or immediately outside a school.  This will stop the industrial use of CCTV ‘spy cars’.

·           Just before dissolution of Parliament, the Department for Communities and Local Government published a discussion paper on taking steps to tackle rogue practices by private parking companies. It also asks whether steps should be taken against municipal parking which does not offer drivers any way of paying in cash in the vicinity.

·           The Labour Government told councils to hike parking charges and parking fines. In Wales, the Labour-led Administration is telling councils to rise charges this year. Ed Miliband’s local council of Camden has called on a future Government to lift statutory restrictions against parking charges being used as a tax.

Eric Pickles said:

“Unreasonable parking charges and fines hurt hardworking taxpayers and undermine local shops. Conservatives have binned the Labour Party policy of encouraging higher parking charges and over-zealous parking enforcement. We will continue to stand up for local shops and families doing their weekly shop, and we will also take on the rogue practices of private parking companies. Labour haven’t changed – as Ed Miliband would yet again hike parking charges and parking fines.”