£100m parking bonanza for councils

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Differential Parking Charges are costing commercial operators an additional £100 million, according to the Freight Transport Association, which has now promised to make a complaint to the government minister responsible.

Gordon Telling, head of policy for London, South East and East of England said: “Yet again commercial vehicle operators are having their costs pushed up because it is easier to target them than it is to collect Penalty Charge Notice revenue from the thousands of unregistered and foreign registered cars in the UK that are free to park illegally without fear of being caught.”

The FTA reckons that London Councils’ statements about the impacts of Differential Parking Charges (DPC) completely mask the real picture. “When DPC was proposed it seemed like a good idea, but as always the devil was in the detail and depended upon which contraventions had the higher charge. What ended up happening was that the lower charge was applied to contraventions that mostly affected private cars and the higher charge to those usually suffered by commercial operators. The bottom line was that commercial operators’ costs were hiked overnight by around 20 per cent, representing a further £100 million to be added to the bill for Penalty Charge Notices.”

And, said Telling: “The deputy chair of London Councils’ Transport Committee, Colin Smith, tells us that if we do not break the rules we will not get a ticket. But that is precisely what happens to commercial operators thousands of times a week when they are making legitimate deliveries but get a PCN anyway. For operators such as those in the Brewery Logistics Group, health and safety reasons mean that deliveries have to be made directly next to premises, making them a prime target for enforcement officers. For others, who have to take goods into premises, the short observation periods given by local authorities are completely inappropriate.”

“FTA will be writing to the minister responsible, Rosie Winterton, to point out the unfairness of these recent changes and the increasing burden that it places on businesses that are ultimately picking up the bill.”

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