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Councils Must Adhere to 10 Minute Parking Leeway in England

9th March 2015

Drivers in England are being allowed a 10 minute grace period before being fined if they run over their time limit in council-owned car parks spaces, the government has announced.

Expected to take effect later this month Communities Secretary Eric Pickles saying it was an end of the "war on drivers”.

Harrison Woods, managing director of YourParkingSpace.co.uk welcomed the move. “These latest proposals are welcome news and certainly a step in the right direction to provide drivers with better parking choices. The fact that the Government has had to make this proposal clearly shows that motorists have been getting a bad deal for a long time, which is why they’ve been seeking more affordable and flexible solutions, such as driveway parking, in growing numbers.

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Will drivers be issued as many fines under the new rules?

The changes are expected to include:

  • guidelines for councils essentially banning from "using parking to generate profit"
  • the right for residents and businesses to request, through petitions, that a council "reviews parking in their area"
  • revised powers for parking adjudicators so they can "hold councils to account"
  • a ban on the use of CCTV "spy cars" except in no-parking areas such as bus lanes and near schools

Mr Pickles went on to say: "For too long parking rules have made law-abiding motorists feel like criminals, and caused enormous damage to shops and businesses.

"Over-zealous parking enforcement undermines our town centres and costs councils more in the long term. This initiative is about localism, giving the power to the people. To motorists and local residents who now can petition and control the car parking in their area."

Micromanage Parking

But councils said many already allowed 10 minutes' leeway and raised concerns about the safety of other changes.

Councillor David Sparks, chairman of the Local Government Association said the government should focus more on road safety issues rather than "looking to micromanage parking".

He said: "Many councils already allow grace periods of 10 minutes for drivers who overstay their parking ticket. Equally, councils know parking restrictions cannot be used to make a profit but are there to stop chaos on our roads.

"We are concerned that government has rushed through today's announcement and failed to fully consult councils on the detail of the regulation."

He said he was concerned about the decision to ban the use of CCTV on zebra crossings.

"Beyond the headlines, what is particularly worrying is the detail of these proposals which could make roads less safe for vulnerable pedestrians and inconvenience millions of motorists and commuters," he said.

Motoring organisations suggest that councils in England made a combined surplus of £667 million from their on and off-street parking operations in 2013-14. By law, any surplus councils make from parking fees must be re-invested into transport projects. These include pot hole repair, road re-surfacing and road extensions.

Common Sense Approach

AA president Edmund King welcomed the announcement.

He said: "This is a common sense move. All too often there are discrepancies between the car clock, the civic clock, the pay-and-display clock, the parking attendant's clock and the driver's watch, which all result in disputed tickets.

He added it was counter-productive to have parking attendants "hiding in doorways to issue tickets the minute a ticket runs out, as this deters drivers from shopping in the high street".