Edinburgh Council's decision to decriminalise parking offences.
At present, parking fines go direct to the treasury as they are classified as criminal offences. By making parking violations a civil rather than criminal offence, the council can now retain the fines to help develop parking enforcement and traffic management schemes.
Edinburgh is the first council in Scotland to introduce this scheme, having secured permission from the secretary of state.
'Uncontrolled parking is no longer acceptable given the over-crowded state of our roads. It causes obstruction and congestion and can be an
incentive for car owners to use their own vehicles for journeys that can be made by other types of transport.
'Edinburgh is the first council in Scotland to decriminalise parking
enforcement and I hope it will encourage other local authorities to follow suit.
'Let me make clear that this is not a soft approach to illegal parking. It will allow the cash gathered from parking fines to benefit the local council rather than the exchequer, leading to better investment in local traffic management.
'I know some motorists have expressed concern about the introduction of the scheme, but it is only those who flout or disregard parking rules who will have anything to fear. Decriminalising parking offences gives our councils the necessary powers to provide more effective parking and traffic management.
'Anyone who feels they have been unjustly treated will have the opportunity to have their case heard by the newly appointed and independent parking adjudicator for Scotland.'
. The Road Traffic Act 1991 introduced provisions enabling the
decriminalisation of most on-street parking offences in London and permitted similar arrangements to be introduced elsewhere. The relevant provisions of the 1991 Act were commenced in Scotland in June 1997.
. Scottish councils can now submit an application to the secretary of state for an order to designate either permitted or special parking areas, within which most non-endorsable parking offences would be decriminalised.
3. With a decriminalised scheme, parking rules are enforced by parking
attendants employed either directly by, or under contract to, the local authority rather than by traffic warden employed by the police as at present. Since parking offences will no longer be criminal, an
adjudication system is required. Motorists can appeal against the issue of Penalty Charge Notices to an independent parking adjudicator
whose decision is final.