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FAIRER RULES ON PARKING UNVEILED

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Plans for tough new measures to overhaul the country's system of civil parking enforcement were unveiled today by t...
Plans for tough new measures to overhaul the country's system of civil parking enforcement were unveiled today by transport secretary Douglas Alexander.

The draft guidelines make clear that the government wants local authorities to use parking enforcement powers to keep the traffic flowing and not to raise money. The aim is a fairer system for all.

The highlights of the government's draft advice, which goes to public consultation today, include:

* Wheel clamping only for the most persistent parking penalty evaders

* More transparency and information for road users with authorities publishing their policies and reports

* Dedicated training for everyone involved in administering civil parking enforcement from on the street right up to the boardroom

* A more motorist-friendly appeals process with a penalty charge discount reoffered after an informal challenge

* More powers being given to the independent adjudicators to intervene where procedures have not been followed properly

* Regular review of parking policies by local authorities in consultation with stakeholders

* Persistent parking offenders targeted through a nationwide database

Mr Alexander said:

'The government is determined to see a parking system that is fairer and more consistent. These proposals are a significant stride towards achieving that goal. We have listened to motorists and it is clear that the current system needs to be improved.

'Taken together, the proposals in this draft guidance will strengthen the system of civil parking enforcement and help local authorities tackle local congestion and keep the traffic moving.'

Notes

1. After a period of public consultation, the government's proposals for a strengthened system of civil parking enforcement will come into effect through regulations made under the Traffic Management Act 2004. The regulations are expected to pass into Law in mid-2007.

These will be accompanied by statutory guidance, a communications toolkit and updated detailed operational guidance.

2. The Road Traffic Act 1991 began the system of decriminalised parking enforcement (DPE). Under DPE parking offences are enforced by parking attendants employed by the relevant local authority rather than traffic wardens employed by the police. This reflects the need for the police to concentrate on core policing priorities.

3. Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 (TMA) gives powers to produce regulations on the civil enforcement of traffic contraventions. Under section 87 of the TMA the government can publish guidance on any matter relating to civil enforcement.

4. The Regulations and Guidance on Civil Parking Enforcement would apply only to local traffic authorities in England. The Welsh Assembly Government is planning a similar consultation exercise in the near future.

5. Decriminalised parking enforcement will be now to be referred to as civil parking enforcement. Parking attendants will be known as Civil Enforcement Officers.

6. The consultation package has been published for consultation on 12 July 2006. The closing date for comments is 25 September 2006. The document will be displayed on the Department for Transport website at http:www.dft.gov.uk from 09:00am on Wednesday 12 July.

7. The package has been drawn up with assistance from key stakeholders including local government representatives, the chief adjudicators and motorists group including the AA Motorists Trust and the RAC Foundation.

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