FTA call for parking revolution after claiming mass London fines signal ‘policy failure’

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - 11:30
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WARDEN: FTA frustrated at number of fines

High, sustained levels of parking fines on delivery vehicles in London signals policy failure, not successful enforcement, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) have claimed.

The assertion came during oral evidence to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee regarding the impact and costs of local authority parking on business.

Submitting, James Hookham, Managing Director of Policy and Communications, stressed the Traffic Management Act (TMA) requires fundamental review.

Mr Hookham insisted the Act fails to distinguish between ‘parking provision’, which is mainly concerned with private cars, and deliveries to commercial and residential premises.

“The very high levels of fines that continue to be incurred by operators attempting to deliver to premises, particularly in central London, show a failure by local authorities to adequately plan and provide for kerbside deliveries,” he said.

“No operator sets out to deliberately contravene the restrictions on parking, but the lack of adequate provision means that delivery vehicles have little choice but to stop on restricted routes to gain access to adjacent premises, and become ‘easy pickings’ for enforcement officers.

“The law needs to be clarified to distinguish between ‘parking’ and ‘delivery and servicing activity’.”

Mr Hookham urged the Committee to recognise that commercial vehicles are in town centres to make essential deliveries businesses and residents rely on.

The Traffic Management Act, underpinning parking management and enforcement, has been in place for five years, but the FTA is now calling for a wholesale review.

“It is high time that this was properly reviewed,” Mr Hookham added.

“The legislation that underpins parking enforcement assumes that congestion management takes precedence over access to the kerbside.

“Whilst reducing congestion is important, there needs to be a balance, and good provision for deliveries is essential in order to support local businesses.”

According to recent FTA surveys, Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) cost businesses across the country millions of pounds a year.

Indeed, several FTA members are individually paying more than £1million every year in fines.

Some companies are even forced to employ dedicated staff to pay and appeal PCNs, while the FTA has developed a service to assist members.

“The issuing of a PCN is a sign of policy failure rather than enforcement success,” said Mr Hookham.

“However, due to the potentially large income local authorities can make from fines, the incentive is not there to reduce the numbers issued.

“Greater leadership by central government is needed to ensure a consistent and fair application of the parking policy framework which respects the difference between illegal parking and vital business deliveries.”

Image courtesy of dirac3000, with thanks.

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