AwarenessFinanceLawSafety

Parking Fine Pains

The picture is taken from ground level, looking up across a multistory car park; orange pillars support the ceiling, and a range of different vehicles occupy the parking bays.
A small avatar of a white male with black hair wearing a green shirt with a black tie.
By Bradley Wootton
Marketing Trainee

Un-Fee-Lievable

Parking fines are as ever, a high priority for British motorists. It seems there is always a parking attendant on the prowl, or a CCTV camera taking notes on your comings and goings. Every time you park your vehicle in a public area, you are constantly fearful that you may be inadvertently parking somewhere you are not allowed.

The truth is, you either get caught somewhere you shouldn’t and find a little yellow envelope of frustration upon your return, or you rush back hurriedly to ensure you get away with it (even if you are not parked illegally). Even public pay and display car parks are not safe; you get your ticket, end up stuck in a shop queue, and suddenly you’ve just won yourself another ticket and a large fine for going over your time frame.

The only way to protect yourself from overstaying your welcome is by paying extra for a longer time slot as a safeguard against unintentionally running late. This means shelling out additional money for parking allowance that you may not even need. Some times it seems that the Government will take advantage of any motorist who has no choice but to park and risk a penalty charge.

“(We aim to) fight back against rampant ticketing by council and private parking enforcers, to ensure that first-time offenders in bus lanes and yellow box junctions get a warning letter instead of a fine, and residents are no longer taxed for parking outside their homes.” – The AA

Hospital Fees

Top of the agenda in today’s battle against unfair parking fees is the subject of hospital car park costs. There is a large amount of frustration surrounding this, as evidenced by an ongoing petition titled: Scrap car parking charges at NHS Hospitals in England which currently has just shy of 30,000 signatures. The Government’s response to the petition suggests that hospital parking fees generates a whopping £200 million.

It would appear that the NHS parking fees are even flexible with the Government suggesting the fees can be reduced at the individual hospitals discretion:

“NHS organisations are locally responsible for the provision and charging for their parking and this includes the methods used to charge”

Does this mean that some NHS facilities are taking advantage of patients who are ill or injured, or their friends and relatives who are coming to visit their loved ones? Again, are these charges only really applied because the public have no other choice but to cough up and stomach the costs?

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: “Parking should be an inconsequential act with the system working for both drivers and land owners. But yet again we see numbers that suggest the relationship is going badly wrong. It is surely inconceivable that 18,000 drivers a day are knowingly setting out to ignore parking rules and attract penalties of up to £100.”

Penalties and Deadlines

  • Beware of parking in restricted areas. As a driver you will get penalty points on your driving licence for certain types of parking which are referred to as Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN). This can relate to dangerous parking, or blocking incoming vehicles.
  • Avoid parking in cycle lanes. Motorists that park their vehicles in a cycle lane risk a fine of up to £130. Local councils will be given the powers to use Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to enforce the law on the cycle lane and reduce the number of drivers blocking routes of cyclists.
  • Don't hesitate or delay when paying or appealing. It is worth remembering that if you have been wrongly assigned a fine for being a little over the time, you have 28 days to pay the charge or appeal. Paying the fine within a 14 day time frame will see a reduction of 50% on the charge. This includes all charges such as car parks and restricted zones.

Appealing a PCN

If you feel justified in challenging the authorities in respect of a parking fine you have received, do not delay. Motorists have up to 28 days from the date of issue to appeal in writing to their Council. This is known as an “informal challenge” and can even be completed online. If you decide to appeal, but fail to do so within 28 days, you may be summoned to Court for non-payment of the fine. 

In the event that your “informal challenge” is rejected by the Council, you still have the option of lodging a “formal challenge”. Once you have received notice from the Council that your appeal has been rejected and the Parking Charge Notice (PCN) still stands, you can submit your formal challenge. The Council will then need to decide within 56 days whether or not to concede and cancel the fine, or enforce it.

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