Friday, 6 March 2015


From the BBC

Drivers in England will get 10 minutes' grace before being fined if they stay too long in council-owned car parking spaces, the government has announced.(1)

It is one of several changes, expected to take effect later this month, which include new restrictions on the use of CCTV cars issuing automatic fines.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said he wanted to end the "war on drivers". But councils said many already allowed 10 minutes' leeway and raised concerns about the safety of other changes.

The changes include:

• guidance for councils reminding them they are banned from "using parking to generate profit"(2)
• a right for residents and businesses to demand - by a petition - that a council "reviews parking in their area"(3)
• new powers for parking adjudicators so they can "hold councils to account"(4)
• protection to stop drivers being fined after parking at out-of-order meters(5)
• a ban on the use of CCTV "spy cars" except in no-parking areas such as bus lanes and near schools(6)
• Mr Pickles said: "We are ending the war on drivers who simply want to go about their daily business.(7)

1. Why? You've paid for parking for an hour, why should anyone expect to get another 10 minutes? You'll just end up with people stretching their time to 1:10 and then thinking they can have a few more minutes "I was only just over the time". The current view of a lot of councils, of an unofficial grace period seems more sensible.

2. Car parking charges are about allowing lots of people to park, and preferably, about penalising people over the normal time to encourage churn. But that's not related to how much it costs to build and run a car park. Take the money, give the residents a cut in their council tax. Simples.

3. So, NIMBYs can try and get car parks closed down to increase their house prices, presumably.

4. Currently known as contesting your fine in court.

5. I've never heard of this happening, but maybe it does elsewhere. Again, if you threatened to contest it in court, I doubt you'd lose.

6. Why? Someone's broken the law, you want to enforce it as efficiently as possible, don't you?

7. Including drivers who break the law.

I'll try it on with free parking, but if I get caught, it's a fair cop.


Woodsy42 said...

OK, lets see the alternative view.

1- paying for one hour parking to do some errends is asking people to forsee the future. Sometimes things happen, beyond an individual's control, to make people a few minutes late.
2- Maybe also for business to demand the council consider sensible parking charges and rules for their customers.
3- Can't think of many cases where closing a car park would increase house proces.
4- And to ensure parking charges are only used to improve transport and accessibility.
5- no comment.
6- Beacause parking restrictions should only be based on access, safety, and traffic flow and should also take account of practical reality. Not be solely a tick-box judgement or designed as a trap to make money.
7-No, I don't think so.

Woodsy42 said...

I should wear my reading glasses when writing comments!

The Stigler said...


1. Plan better
2. Many of which have no idea what parking is good for their business and would reduce parking charges to 0, even though that would be worse.
3. If the road to it goes past your house, getting rid of it will make your road quieter and safer.
4. Give me an example of where someone doesn't set parking charges on that basis.
6. But that's then about setting the parking areas and charges correctly, not about enforcing those rules.

Bayard said...

Alongside all the Homey mythology, there exists in the public consciousness a myth that drivers have a right to go where they like as fast as they like and leave their vehicle as long as they like anywhere they please. Anything that restricts this ancient right, which is probably in Magna Carta or some such document, is a gross infringement of our liberties, a tyranny to be tolerated through gritted teeth and to be resisted at every turn.
That is what the government is playing up to.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Agreed, the whole thing is fucking insane. Eric Pickles logic only stacks up if there is an infinite number of space on which to park cars.

Fact is, if you are parking your car somewhere, you are depriving somebody else of that opportunity. It might be that the opportunity cost/value of that space is a few pence or it might be tens or hundreds of pounds.

I mean, theoretically we could scrap all council parking charges and fines and make it illegal for private operators to charge for parking and make it legal to park your car in somebody else's drive if you so wish, how would that make things better overall for all motorists taken as a whole?

Answer: it would be even worse.

Random said...

Well make the fine progressive. The more time you stay over the total, the more you get fined.
Someone 1 minute late would be fined less than someone staying 1 hour.
And if you want efficient law enforcement, then don't have unfair unofficial grace periods.

buildingstoat said...

Car parking charges are a lot more complicated than that, at least round here on the Notts/Derbys border. There are lots of political and economic matters that trump traffic flow and safety every time. A couple of small examples.

In our local town on the unfashionable northern edge of the borough, there has long been friction between the town council and the borough council about parking charges or the lack of them. The town has no real lack of parking and the council wants to keep parking free to encourage people to visit the town rather than the retail park down the road.

The borough council doesn't care, it wants the money and 'uniform' charges accross their patch. To further this they have put up lots of residents only parking from 8am to 6pm in order to pressure people into paid parking. (Nottingham does lots of this) These roads are almost empty during the day because residents are at work. After 6pm the road fills up. This is really stupid because there is still enough parking that the charged for carparks are almost empty. A real lose/lose situation.

A little to the west in Derbyshire something similar has happened, the borough council has imposed parking
charges on the little towns surrounding the main town where said council is based, which still has free parking. The charges are to bring business into 'thier area'.

Like so much government, the given reasons for a policy are very different from the real ones.

Mark Wadsworth said...

BS, in an ideal world, parking charges just a rationing device if demand exceeds supply. If, as in your example, there is plenty of space available even with no parking charges, then it would be idiotic to introduce them.

Conversely, if it's a popular/busy street, then shopkeepers and shoppers want a faster turnover, which is best achieve with parking charges, and/or just providing more parking spaces.

Bayard said...

BS, having once been a town councillor in Somerset, I have to agree with you. I tried to persuade my fellow councillors that the best thing we could do to encourage shoppers into the town was remove the parking charges on Saturday and make up the shortfall on weekdays, since the main objection to parking charges (we were talking about 20p for an hour or so) was the hassle of finding change, getting out of your car, locking it, buying a ticket, returning to your car, unlocking it sticking the ticket to the windscreen and locking it again.
However I was told that parking charges were set by the District Council and they didn't want to change them.

So the best thing the Mr Pickles could do and, predictably, the one thing he appears not to have done, is hand the control of parking charges to town councils.

mombers said...

Reminds me of a visit we had from some folk from Portsmouth who got a ticket parking outside our house. They were appalled and told us about how there are no parking charges in their part of town. But sometimes they have to park 500m from their house because lo and behold, no price rationing means overuse...