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Parking Ticket Scandals – Time for a Parking Fine Strike!

Westminster Council issues in excess of 900,000 traffic penalties each year, and this year many more of them are being issued via cameras.

Anyone stopping on a single yellow line – ie. the whole of inner London – for more than ‘40 seconds’ will get a fine from Westminster and Camden councils – including taxis that drop off or pick up passengers, those with luggage, pensioners, wheelchair users, and of course, anyone using a cash point.

Each day, yes each and every day, around 350 taxis, dozens of BT vans and thousands of delivery vans are wrongly ticketed each day – in Westminster and Camden. Lambeth is another notorious council for creating traps for motorists.

I have received penalties for ‘Not Showing Your Badge Clearly Enough’, and ‘Double Parking’ – when I stopped outside Westminster Council’s own recycling plant in central London – at their behest, to drop off old business papers and newspapers.

Next, if Westminster and Kensington Council wardens see a car in a resident parking place for at least a week – the car will be removed, and taken to the council pound because ‘it was obstructing street cleaning operations’. This costs at least £150 to get your car back. Another scam by the council.

Some truly bizarre penalty charge anecdotes appear in a new book, ‘The Parking Ticket Awards: Crazy Councils, Meter Madness and Traffic Warden Hell’ written by the authority in parking tickets, Barrie Segal. A victim of unfair ticketing himself, Segal is now devoted to making people aware that they have the power to fight back.

His website, www.appealnow.com, has helped fellow sufferers appeal against or claim back hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of fines from over–zealous authorities which might otherwise have remained undisputed. Indeed, Segal believes that as many as 4 million parking tickets per year may well be illegal and unenforceable, with 63 per cent of all appeals made by motorists upheld.

Since the Road Traffic Act (1991), local authorities have been granted the power to coordinate traffic enforcement and, rather worryingly, keep some of the revenue generated to invest in other areas. As many traffic wardens now have targets to meet, it would appear that some are prepared to go to extraordinary lengths in order to meet their quota. As a result, more than £1bn is now being paid in parking fines and charges each year. Surely our parking standards haven’t deteriorated to such an extent?

It would appear that penalties are no longer reserved for illegal or dangerous parking, but are now issued with gay abandon to anything that may be construed to be in breach of the traffic laws – have you heard the one about the dead cows ticketed as ‘unattended vehicles’?

Shall we start a Petty Fines Strike?

© 2008 Marcus Gibson