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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Londoners have until end of September to have their say on parking penalties

Londoners are being reminded that they have until the end of this month (September) to have their say on how much motorists should pay in parking and other traffic related penalties and charges.

A joint London Councils and Transport for London (TfL) consultation on the levels of the penalties for motorists who commit parking and traffic contraventions closes on Thursday 30 September.

Any money collected by the boroughs, after the cost of running enforcement is taken into account, has to be spent on transport and environmental improvements.

The current levels of penalties are £120 for serious contraventions in central London and £80 for lesser contraventions. In outer London the penalties are generally £100 and £60, although in some particularly busy areas, such as town centres or around major venues, the higher level penalties may apply.

All penalties are reduced by 50 per cent of they are paid within 14 days, or 21 days in the case of a contravention being filmed on CCTV.

The size of the penalties is reviewed every four years. The last consultation, carried out in 2006, resulted in the introduction of the two tier parking system in July 2007. This means all contraventions on TfL roads and the more serious contraventions on London borough roads currently incur a higher penalty than other contraventions.

Londoners and other interested parties are being asked whether they think the two tier system works or whether there should be a single level of penalty charge.

They are also being asked for their views on how much penalties should be for:
  • contraventions of parking regulations
  • moving traffic contraventions including driving in bus lanes and entering yellow box junctions when its exits are blocked
  • release from wheel clamps
  • contravening the London Lorry Control Scheme
  • bonds paid by persistent evaders appealing against one or more of their penalty charge notices
  • storage and disposal charges

Have your say here.

Tags for Forum Posts: consultation, parking penalties, penalty charge notices, tfl

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I think they should ALL be abolished apart from on Red Routes or Double Yellow lines. It's a total scam designed to fill the coffers of Haringey Council without being accountable to drivers - how much did they make last year and how was the money allocated? None of it to improve roads no doubt. Local traders say it is the single biggest killer of their businesses - traffic regulations should go back to the more relaxed way it used to be.
The charges are extreme. If they are going to fine for things like driving in bus lanes the fines should be no more than £20. £60 which is what you have to pay at the moment is a "scam" and you are left thinking as Sapphireblue says that it's just a way to fill the coffers. Maybe if you are a persistent offender the charges could be increased as a deterrent but I think at the moment the system is unfair
Hugh mentioned this in July, so a reminder is timely. Then, I pointed out that the consultation document was biased towards raising the cost of Penalty Charge Notices. (Weasel-words for fines.)

I agree with Kavitha that fines are too high. If you also agree - or think the charges should be lowered - tell TfL and London Councils in strong terms.

Please don't assume that posting a comment on HoL is enough. TfL and London Councils will take notice only if you write in. Please also try to persuade your family, friends, neighbours and work colleagues to write. A copy to ward councillors and MPs as well would be even better.

The consultation document and response form are here.

You might also want to add comments about the parking rules. In my view these are too complex and often badly administered. (And not just in Haringey.)

Local councils right across the country may get even the basics wrong. Many have had non-compliant lines. Others ignore the rulings of the Parking Adjudicators. I've posted on HoL about the Adamou case where an Adjudicator ruled that Penalty Charge Notices must have sufficient detail to identify the specific junction. (In that case a ticket giving "Green Lanes" as the location wasn't enough.)

On 22 June - with a follow-up to the director Niall Bolger on 21 July - I asked for an unequivocal assurance that Haringey will follow this ruling and cancel Notices if they do not. Nearly three months later, I'm still waiting. And so is Chris Turner who sent an F.o.I. about it.

Sapphire Blue, can I point out that fines for Red Routes got to Transport for London (not Haringey). And surpluses on the Parking Accounts in every council (after paying for the administration and enforcement) must by law go on parking or transport related schemes.

Though you have a fair point that increasing charges may simply increase opposition to all such schemes. Possibly to the point of a massive revolt - with people campaigning to remove them altogether. Although I'm not sure that either traders or residents along Green Lanes would actually benefit if all controls and enforcement were removed.

(Tottenham Hale ward councillor)
Fines too high, eh?

This is a radical suggestion, but if drivers find the penalties a bit stiff perhaps they should avoid incurring them in the first place.

I think that all of London would benefit from much stiffer penalties for even minor driving offences coupled with ruthless enforcement and unremitting surveillance. Price bad drivers off the road and make more room for those that drive and park within the law.
Hardly "radical", Danzigger. What you describe as ruthless and unremitting is a pretty accurate description of a lot of what goes on now.

I agree with enforcement and fines if people break the rules. But penalties should be fair and commensurate. It doesn't make you a "bad driver" because you get held up and are five minutes late returning to a pay-&-display bay. Nor if you are misled by some of the less than plain English instructions on the machine.

As I see it, there's an implicit 'bargain' between local council (and TfL) staff managing Parking and Highways, and local people who are paying. Residents are entitled to have services run professionally, competently and sensitively. That should include willingness to acknowledge error and to learn from mistakes made.

For years, hundreds of local councils - including Haringey - frequently painted the wrong parking lines on their roads. Eventually and very grudgingly, Haringey admitted this. In 2008 the then 'cabinet' member wrote that:
"A forward programme to review and amend lines and signs in CPZs that do not comply with the current regulations is underway. We are currently proposing a 12 month period for this work. A stringent process in place to ensure that all future signs are compliant with the regulations as set out in the Traffic Signs and General Directions."

Despite this, "forward programme" and other promises for "reviews" and a "rolling programme", on 6 September 2010 I had final confirmation of what I'd suspected. Haringey Highways staff do not even maintain the most simple basic database listing which roads have been checked for compliant lines and signs; and which roads have not.
I agree that that accidentally incurring a parking ticket doesn't make you a "bad driver." And I don't doubt that there is a financial motivation for local councils and TFL to charge people for parking and fine drivers heavily when they overstay their ticket. Also I agree that the whole system is plagued by poor instructions and ambiguous signs.

But softening the punishment is no way to reform bad laws and ignorance is not a defence.

I don't think that the current enforcement of traffic law can be described as ruthless and unremitting. I have never seen a driver pulled over for going through a light on amber; I have never seen a driver pulled over for doing 25mph in a 20mph zone; I have never seen a driver pulled over for driving whilst on the phone, nor for stopping in an ASL, nor for using a horn inappropriately, nor for having tinted front windows etc. ad. inf. despite having seen these offences happening in the presence of the police.
Unfortunately I can't think of a better way to improve driving in London than heavily penalising the laws as they stand. If we allow people five minutes late back to their car a free pass then we create a system where people will expect five minutes leeway, which will only make people more angry when they return to their car ten minutes late to find they have a ticket. If we allow people to drive at 40 in a 30 zone, then pretty soon drivers will complain that they were "only doing 45."
By all means raise a clamour for better laws; but I don't buy the argument for making current laws easier to ignore.
Tomorrow is the very last day to respond to the London Councils' consultation on additional parking charges and other traffic penalties.

Both the consultation document and the response form are here. The latter in an MsWord form you can type into.

You may find this form rather long and unwieldy. (I did) And it also assumes that many of the questions are okay with an either/or answer. Though there are spaces for comments.

Please do take the time to respond - even if you just send a short email to London Councils. They promise that "all submissions will be considered, regardless of format."
Email: parkingconsultation@londoncouncils.gov.uk

Just to clarify, this is a London-wide consultation and it also applies to roads managed by Transport for London. Personally, I've taken it as an opportunity to write-in repeating the criticisms I posted on HoL and in my Flickr pages.



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