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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Figures released this morning by London Councils show that parking fines across the capital are down by 22% over two years.

This is put down to a mix of the recession and achieved behaviour change impact. (Though the second reason is not evidenced).

Digging a little deeper, I found that Haringey is the second most prolific issuer of parking tickets outside the centre of Town. As you'd expect, the pack is led by central boroughs, Westminster, Camden and Kensington & Chelsea. Two inner London boroughs, Islington & Lambeth, take up fourth and fifth spots. Sixth is Newham, followed by Haringey.

Neighbouring inner London Hackney issued only half as many penalty charge notices as Haringey.

Is our borough being vigilant or are our traffic officers trigger happy?

I've attached the data for others of you to peruse and correct any misinterpretation I may have applied.

Tags for Forum Posts: parking charges, parking fines, penalty charge notices

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When I see the council's parking attendants prowling around in at unusual hours, when you might expect you were safe, such as early Sunday evening, I don't see them as motivated by safety considerations or a desire to keep traffic moving or any parking-related matter. I see them as tax collectors. The council has come to rely on these monies, now in the millions.

I've seen this just off Green Lanes and I've seen this around Hampstead Heath. I once saw a van-load of attendants, resplendent in their smart uniforms, debouche at Hampstead Lane one Sunday and clean up along the road – like shooting ducks in a barrel. What rich pickings from families away enjoying an afternoon on the Heath.

We don't know what bonus/incentives the attendants are on; all we can do know is the need to beware.
"achieved behaviour change impact" - for goodness sake, you're not auditioning for a job as minute taker to a council committee (are you?)

Referring again to the discussion on Theresa May/asb/neighbourliness I think our enforcement departments are much better occupied tackling the easy targets like parking fines or sorting plastic from cardboard rather than tackling anything genuinely difficult.

Having said that this initiative seems to have been a real success
No more running battle street shoot-outs along Green Lanes since that team was set up.

Just that one-on-one 'incident' last month, not club related.
Looking at the context, I think what Hugh may have meant by

achieved behaviour change impact

was simply and in essence:


i.e. fear of a ticket and parking fine. Most people, especially those on lower incomes don't view the possibility of a parking ticket in neutral terms and it is idle to pretend otherwise: they worry about and fear a parking ticket.

I think that obfuscatory jargon – and even jargon that does not set out to obfuscate – is best avoided. The Plain English Campaign has been fighting since 1979 for clearer communication, especially from councils, who seem to be among the worst offenders.

Unfortunately, this kind of language may still have status and credibility for some local authorities ...
As usual, Hugh, I rely on HoL for notification of these reports. By the way, people may like to know that the figures cover bus lane and junction box penalties as well.

This is probably one of the few topics on which Clive and I agree. The courts have ruled that raising revenue is not, in its own right, a legitimate objective of parking enforcement. But even so, income from traffic and parking fines is now relied on as a normal component of many local councils' budgets. It is a tax in everything but name.

HoL members may also be interested to read the consultation about "additional parking charges". Yes, we'd all heard about this, hadn't we? It runs until 30 September and despite the title, the document claims neutrality. You can propose that parking and traffic fines go down as well as up! Though, it will surprise absolutely nobody that this document drops hint after hint that reduction is hardly a sensible option.

We even learn the interesting fact that the banding of fines/charges (£120 and £100) originally included a third band (£80). But:
"No penalties are issued for band C as all authorities that had previously had band C areas applied for those areas to be increased to band B. Band C could therefore be said to be redundant."
An amazing coincidence and - I'm certain - nothing whatsoever to do with generating income.

Clive is right about the need for Plain English, not just in Haringey Parking Service but across London. Although people pointed out that I incorrectly described this notice as Newspeak. It was in fact traditional Obfuscanian poetry of elegance and grace.
I understood that income from parking fines was ring fenced and had to be spent on parking restriction enforcement and improvement of parking facilities. It could not be rolled into the general budget.

Has this changed ?
To the best of my knowledge, John, the basic position hasn't changed. There's still a 'ring fence' as laid down by the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

The most recent Parking Service Annual Report I could find on Haringey's website is April 2008 - March 2009. This includes a table on page 27 showing the surpluses which - as you say have primarily to be spent on parking facilities. The report also explains (page 26) that if the parking needs have been met the surplus can be used to fund improvements in:
• Highway or Road Improvements
• Public Passenger Transport Services
• Environmental Improvements

Which gives some flexibility. But as you say, it can't simply be added to the General Fund.
Thanks Alan

Maybe the surplus could be used to buy the Wightman Road buses and pay the drivers ? :-)
And then to reduce the amount available for say, highways maintenance? As you know, the central problem facing all local councils is not finding worthwhile ways to spend new money.
In case any one missed it, here is an example from yesterday's Haringey Independent of the sometimes over-zealous enforcement of parking regulations in our Borough.

Haringey Council tow man's car hours before family holiday following parking error

Further, it appears to be a case of the council's parking wardens not seeing or understanding the council's own notices, which restrictions only applied on football match days.

This might provide an answer to Hugh's original question, Is our borough being vigilant or are our traffic officers trigger happy?
Alan I strongly disagree with you when you claim that this is one of the few topics on which we agree. You've used this phrase many times on diverse topics. ;-)
I think many people who receive parking tickets feel that it is unfair. They are already anxious about unclear posted regulations (I have a basic grasp of English and Logic but struggle to find meaning in some council signs). There is suspicion amongst the cynical that the gobbledygook on notices is deliberate (what the hell is this about "Except on Match Days"? I'm not a football fan and I'm in a rush anyway!).

There is anxiety about the randomness of enforcement ("I''ll just chance it for five minutes") though increasingly there is chance of a fine. Although, as some would have it, achieved behaviour change impact is not evidenced.

This is a fraught-enough start. We have all seen irritated motorists snatch the dreaded ticket from their windscreen. But if anyone doubts the emotional aspect of parking enforcement, they need only witness the scene when some poor motorist returns to their vehicle while the ticket is being produced by the parking attendant. There will often been shouting and rarely, even violence.

This is in contrast to paying income tax. No one likes paying income tax but it is expected, predictable and widely seen as fair.

Disclaimer: I have never been ticketed by Haringey Council. Some years ago, my motorcycle received a parking ticket from Hammersmith.



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