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19 April 2011
Confusion as to when and where to park during the Easter and May bank holidays, as well as the royal wedding, could spoil the perfect day out.
Don't make the mistake of assuming that parking controls such as single yellow lines and pay-and-display parking, don't apply on bank holidays.
Check signs carefully – unless the signs which set out parking charges or restrictions, specifically say 'except bank holidays' the controls will be in force over the coming public holidays.
Bank holidays fall on weekdays and any 'Monday to Saturday' restrictions will apply even though they may feel more like Sundays.
To make matters worse, with extended weekend and evening restrictions and higher charges in response to financial pressures, drivers going to tourist, shopping or coastal areas over the Easter break and bank holidays need to be alert.
There is a mistaken belief that all parking restrictions are lifted over a bank holiday. Variations in enforcement and level of signing between local authorities can turn parking into a nightmare
Paul Watters, AA Head of Public Affairs
If you're going on a day-trip we recommend checking council bank holiday parking policies online before setting out.
If you decide to travel and try your luck without checking first, you should only park for free where there is clear guidance that restrictions have been lifted, such as specific bank holiday notices.
Some councils warn that bank holiday cars parked in the wrong place may be removed to the car pound.
If you end up parking in a private car park over the holiday period you should be particularly careful about overstaying permitted parking time periods or paying if required.
Keep a very wary eye out for wheel clamping signs as the clampers are still around and won't be made illegal until legislation is finally enacted in Parliament this year.
Even stopping to turn round or check a map may be sufficient opportunity for a cowboy clamper to block in a car and clamp it.
"There is a mistaken belief that all parking restrictions are lifted over a bank holiday. Variations in enforcement and level of signing between local authorities can turn parking into a nightmare.
"The AA asks councils to operate enforcement with reasonable discretion, particularly if the visitor is clearly from outside the area – after all, one assumes a council would like them to come back next year and support local business," says Paul Watters, head of AA Public Affairs.
"With legislation going through Parliament to outlaw clamping on private land, the upcoming bank holidays and royal wedding offer the cowboy operators one of the few remaining golden opportunities to extort hundreds of pounds from holiday drivers. They will seize their chance."
Many roads on and in the area surrounding the route of the wedding procession between Buckingham Palace and Westminster will be subject to temporary closures and parking restrictions.
If you're getting married on the same day as William and Kate you can make sure that a breakdown doesn't spoil your plans by signing up for the AA's new 'Get you to the church on time' register.