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Motoring law: Record levels of parking tickets issued while more appeals fail

As more and more local councils gain control of Penalty Charge Notices for parking offences, the number of tickets issued every year is growing rapidly. Unsurprisingly, the number of appeals against them has also risen, but the amount of successful appeals each year has fallen.

In the year ending March 2009, 4.24 million parking tickets were issued in England and Wales, compared with just 2.5 million in 2003.

During 2008-9, the number of appeals against tickets rose by 15%. But while in the previous year the success rate was 62%, in 2008-9 it fell to 57%.

It is estimated that local councils have taken more than £320 million in fines through the Penalty Charge Notice scheme.

Councils are not permitted to raise cash through parking fines due to the Traffic Management Act. However, many motoring groups believe that this is exactly what is happening.

The AA said: "With the number of parking tickets at an all-time high and absolutely no evidence that an increased penalty amount will lead to better compliance, as some councils are suggesting. We believe demands for any raising of the penalty level are more about plugging holes in some council coffers."

Some councils have been using CCTV to catch motorists committing parking offences, and then sending tickets in the post.

But it was found that, in some cases, CCTV was used to issue tickets to cars that were still moving.

Cllr Peter Box, Chairman of the Local Government Association's Economy and Transport Board, believes that the Penalty Charge Notice system is fair since "fewer than one in 200 tickets issued last year resulted in an appeal which suggests that, on the whole, parking officers are getting it right".

He said: "We know parking restrictions are never going to popular but these restrictions are in place to keep people safe, keep traffic moving and ensure parking spaces are available to those who need them."

He added: "Any money received from parking fines has to be spent on transport improvements which benefit motorists, pedestrians and other road users."

Related links:
Read more on this story (The Telegraph)
Read about paying and appealing parking tickets (FindLaw)
Find local motoring solicitors throughout the UK (FindLaw)