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Park the Parking Ticket

Ever received one of these?

Love them (er, possibly not) or loathe them (that’s probably closer to the truth) Traffic Wardens have been policing the parking habits of drivers since 1960. First appearing on the streets of Westminster, the wardens – like today - had the power to issue fines to law-breaking motorists. The biggest difference, as you would expect, is in the cost of the fine. In 1960 it would have cost you £2 for illegal parking. Today you will be expected to pay £60 (generously halved if paid within 14 days).

In 2016 the uniform may have changed, but the role of the warden has not.

In England and Wales alone, 245 councils issue tickets through an army of parking attendants. Figures suggest that 10 million parking tickets are given out in the UK annually, raising £600m in parking penalties. On top of this figure private companies make profits by issuing charges to the parking public.

Help is at hand however. For those motorists who feel they have been unfairly targeted can turn to Barrie Segal for assistance. This accountant turned parking-champion has written a book on the subject and also operates a website - appealnow.com - which aims to fight unfair tickets.

And he’s seen it all. Listed amongst the more outlandish claims made by the public was a blacksmith who found a ticket on his horse. Under "vehicle description", the attendant had written "brown horse".

"You can always rely on the parking attendant - to get it wrong," says Barrie. "Many do a good job but the big problem, since parking enforcement was handed from police to the councils in the 1990s, is a five-letter word beginning in 'M' and ending in 'Y'. Enforcement has changed out of all recognition since those innocent days of the 1960s."

While of course, many fines are warranted - think parking on zig-zag or double yellow lines – there may be times when you feel a fine has been issued unfairly. In those circumstances, follow this advice :

If you feel you have been incorrectly issued with a parking ticket:

- Tell the traffic warden why the ticket is wrong and then ask for your comments to be recorded

- Examine the ticket and ensure all details correct. There must be a date of issue and date of contravention.

- Check vehicle registration number, colour of car and place of alleged breach are correct.

- Take photographs as evidence. Gather as much information as possible. Were the parking signs, zig zag or yellow lines visible and clear? At night, were the street lights on?

- Get right on the appeal - don't wait for the penalty charge to become payable in full.

- Write to the council to challenge the ticket. Do not pay ticket prior to this: you cannot appeal tickets once you have paid.

- For more information about the appeal process in England and Wales refer to http://www.trafficpenaltytribunal.gov.uk/how-to-ap...

- For Scotland and Northern Ireland visit this site for more details.


By Tracey McBain