Residents and businesses could be able to challenge parking policies with petitions under new, centrally imposed rules.
The Department for Communities & Local Government said it wanted to make it easier for people to “challenge unfair, disproportionate or unreasonable parking policies”. It said it could include the provision of parking, parking charges and the use of yellow lines.
More than 90% of English local authorities have taken up civil parking enforcement powers, taking responsibility for the design, implementation and enforcement of parking policies in their area.
But in a discussion paper, the DCLG said: “There is public concern that some local authorities appear not to be using their powers to meet the best interests of road users, communities and businesses in their area.
“There are concerns about over-zealous parking enforcement and high parking charges driving people out of town centres, pushing up the cost of living and making it harder for people to park responsibly and go about their everyday lives. Inappropriate parking rules and enforcement also harm local shops and impose costs on local firms.”
A consultation on local authority parking enforcement was launched in December last year, and in its response DCLG said it wanted to change the rules to empower local residents and firms to make their council review parking strategies and practices.
This latest discussion paper provides more detail on the options, including a proposal to introduce a requirement that in response to a petition from residents and/or businesses, local authorities must review a specific parking policy relating to a specified location. Councils will also have to produce a report for consideration with councillors taking decisions in appropriate public council meetings.
In order for a petition to be valid, the DCLG is considering a minimum of 50 signatures or at least 10% of the residents or businesses in the affected local areas.
“We will initially introduce this policy through statutory guidance, and will consider the case for entrenching in legislation,” it said in a statement.
In responding to petitions, the DCLG is proposing, as a minimum, that local authorities should publish:
- A public statement on how they will manage any challenges to parking policies. This statement could cover how reviews are carried out, how long they will take, consultation requirements (including local residents, and any neighbouring authorities that may be affected), and how the final decision will be taken and communicated following the review. The statement should also cover any circumstances where a petition will not be considered, such as vexatious petitioners, or within a stated minimum period after a previous review in the same area
- Details of all petitions received, with clear information on what aspects of parking policy are being challenged, the timeline for reviewing the challenged policy and how local residents and businesses can engage in that review
- The report of the review, and any recommendations, considered and voted on by councillors
- The outcome of all reviews.
Local authorities will also be expected to keep the organiser of the petition updated on progress, notify them when the report is due to be considered, and the outcome of the challenge.
The DCLG said it would consider whether legislation was required to entrench these measures.
Views should be submitted by 10 October.