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By qatari

New parking rules get tough
LONDON (AGENCIES)

New parking rules coming into force in England on 31 March will cause “some chaos” for drivers and see the number of fines soar, the AA has warned.

Under the new system, there will be different levels of fine depending on the offence and where it is committed.
In some areas, the penalty for the most serious breaches will rise by 20% and the body which adjudicates on fines says it is expecting more appeals.
But the government insists the system will be fairer and “more transparent”.

In 2005, the most recent year for which figures are available, eight million parking tickets were issued in England and Wales, costing motorists hundreds of millions of pounds.

The Traffic Management Act will create five different penalty bands each incorporating a higher and lower level. Each local authority in England will be subject to one of the five bands.
The level of penalty imposed on drivers will depend on the offence in question. Lesser offences will include overstaying in a pay-and-display bay. More serious offences will include parking on double yellow lines or in a disabled bay.

The AA estimates that three quarters of all offences will fall into the serious category. Paul Watters, from the organisation, said “It’s a question of whether local authorities are geared up to do this, whether they understand all the implications of the new rules, and whether motorists are going to find that authorities are acting fairly.”
“So it is quite a big change from one piece of legislation to the next.” “There is a potential for some chaos, as authorities are going to have to run two systems together.”

For the first time, councils outside London will be able to issue fines by post using CCTV evidence. They will also be able to issue a penalty even when a motorist has driven away before a ticket can be physically placed on their car.
Transport Minister Rosie Winterton said this was vital because “some people will drive away very quickly if they see a parking attendant approaching.”

“That can be dangerous for other drivers and it can be dangerous for pedestrians,” Ms Winterton said.
“So we’ll be allowing traffic wardens to issue tickets even if somebody is in the process of driving away and that’s a real safety issue.”
Councils will also be able to penalise actions such as parking next to a dropped kerb or parking too far away from the kerb.

The Department for Transport says there will be “quicker clamping and removal times for persistent evaders, but wheel clamping will otherwise be discouraged.”
Nevertheless, the National Parking Adjudication Service expects its workload to increase. Chief adjudicator Caroline Sheppard said: “We’re preparing to deal with more appeals, but the current problem with the appeal system is that very few motorists appear to realise they can appeal at all.”
“Obviously, we will be embarking on a better public relations exercise in order to inform motorists, with the new measures, that they do have a right to appeal.”

Outside London, the toughest fine, currently £60, will rise to £70 for the most serious offences, but will fall to £50 for less serious ones. In London, the highest level of fine has risen from £100 to £120, with lesser offences dropping to £80.

From 31 March, the time limit for paying tickets by post will increase from 14 days to 21.
Winterton has said “the changes will make fines more transparent and consistent and help to ensure those issued are fair and justified.”

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