Council bids to take on parking enforcement

Following a review of illegal parking and the costs involved to take on enforcement powers across the district, North Somerset Council is applying to the Department for Transport (DfT) to adopt Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE).

If approved, it would mean the council taking on responsibility for parking enforcement from October.

The council already controls off-street car parks and the pay and display bays in Weston town centre. Adopting CPE powers means it would also take on responsibility for enforcing on-street parking across the district.

The move follows requests from the public and traders for better enforcement of parking restrictions on streets, especially in areas where drivers are ignoring yellow line and time limited parking orders.

Better enforcement will lead to improved traffic management and a higher turnover of parking spaces in town centres and shopping areas, making it easier for visitors and shoppers to park, while fewer illegally parked vehicles will help ease congestion and improve access for emergency vehicles, buses and waste and recycling lorries.

It is anticipated that the scheme will be self-financing. Money raised from fines will go towards the cost of running the scheme with any surplus invested in local transport initiatives and road improvements.

“Public perception is that councils see parking enforcement as a ‘cash cow’,” said Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, the council’s deputy leader and executive member responsible for highways. “However, the purpose of this scheme is not to generate surplus income but to provide effective parking enforcement and keep key roads and junctions clear.

“We have been receiving a growing number of complaints from law-abiding motorists who see illegally parked vehicles remaining unticketed by an over-stretched police force. Taking on CPE and having a more consistent approach to parking enforcement across the district will be fairer for all.

“Previously we have decided that taking on these powers would be at a cost to the taxpayer as any income from fines would be outweighed by the costs of running the scheme. However, we have kept this under review following the introduction of pay and display in Weston town centre and changes in the national regulations and we are now confident that we would at least break even.”

Details of how the scheme will operate will be finalised over the coming months before, subject to DfT approval, it goes live in October.