Changes to Civil Parking Enforcement

14 January 2008


car with wheel clamp parked on double yellow line On 1 April 2008 significant changes take place to civil parking enforcement. This is parking enforcement undertaken by local authorities rather than the police. They can keep the revenue to invest in parking or transport. The majority of local authorities now control parking in this manner together with all London Councils.

The changes are effected by new enabling legislation and new regulations – from the Road Traffic Act 1991 to the Traffic Management Act 2004, and various new 'statutory instruments'.

What do the changes mean?

Local authorities must 'convert' all their paperwork and information including penalty notices, appeal paperwork, websites and leaflets – this should make references to the new legislation and any new or amended measures.

Authorities must run both the old and new system in tandem until cases which commenced before 1 April have run though the system. From 1 April all penalty notices and appeal forms must refer to the Traffic Management Act and new regulations.

What are the main changes?

Parking Attendants become Civil Enforcement Officers. On street they will look little different as most are unlikely to have new uniforms.

There will be two levels of penalty – a 'lesser offence' for example, overstaying briefly at a parking meter, or a 'serious offence' for example, parking on a double yellow line. The penalty amounts charged will be different.

A penalty notice can be served by post if the enforcement officer has started, but not finished, issuing it.

Penalties can be issued for parking alongside 'dropped kerbs' or for 'double' parking – being half a metre out from the kerb.

The 50% discount period should be extended to 28 days if an informal representation is unsuccessful.

Parking adjudicators given power to 'send cases back' to local authorities.

Wheel clamping is to be reserved largely for persistent offenders. If it is used in other circumstances, clamping cannot take place for 30 minutes after the penalty is incurred.

Local authorities should produce annual transparent reports on their parking activities.

What does the Government say?

Making parking fairer and clearer for everyone »

Rosie Winterton, MP, Minister of State for Transport explains how and why on street parking enforcement is changing.

What does the AA say about the changes?

  • The AA believes that civil parking enforcement has brought benefits in terms of improved compliance and thus better use of limited space and improved traffic safety.
  • Some councils have however have been bad and unfair in dealing with people and have used civil enforcement as a revenue generator rather than parking control measure.
  • The AA welcomes the revised guidance on wheel clamping.
  • The changes go some way to addressing motorists concerns, for example lesser penalties for minor offences, but also allow scope for some councils to exploit the new powers for example, by unnecessarily issuing penalties by post. The AA does not want to see enforcement officers hiding around corners dishing tickets out by post rather than high profile deterrence on street.
  • It is right that adjudicators are given more teeth to deal with bad councils and it is right that those who loose informal appeals should still be allowed to pay the penalty at the discounted rate, up to 28 days.
  • The government is eager to ensure that all councils adopt high standards when dealing with parking enforcement and the administration and 'customer care' relating to this. If you have an example where the new regulations or statutory guidance (after 1 April 2008) are being abused please let us know (mail to:[email protected]) and we'll ensure the Transport Minister is alerted. We can't investigate or intervene directly in all cases but will ensure the information is passed on.
  • It is too early to say whether the changes will take civil enforcement to a new better level but the AA will be watching closely.
  • There will be limited chaos during the transition as councils try to cope with reprinting paperwork in time and training staff in the new system. There will also be more appeals as, whilst the changes are mostly welcomed, the changes will create some error and misunderstanding.

The new penalties

  Serious offence Lesser offence
London1 £120 (£60) £80 (£40)
Outside London £70 (£35) £50 (£25)

(Figures in brackets represent 50 per cent discount)
1London also has three zonal penalty bands A, B and C (the highest one is shown above).

AA Public Affairs


14 January 2008