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Differencial parking charges

a hundred reasons why not. The Freight Transport Association says that with Differential Parking Charges now firmly in place it is clear that there have been winners and losers. Private motorists have got a fair deal but commercial operators have not – their costs are up by a cool £100 million!

London Councils' recent 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 (PCNs).

Gordon Telling, FTA's 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 PCN 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 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.

'Mr Smith also says that the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS) is the final arbiter. In theory this is correct, but too often local authorities have simply put PCNs back into the system in a cynical attempt to wear down operators, who often pay to avoid the enormous hassle of the appeals process.

'Instead of congratulations, London Councils should be applying itself to getting its members to revise loading controls that are not fit for purpose instead of generating increasing surpluses for local authorities to play with.

'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.'

Notes for Editors

Differential Parking Charges were introduced in London on 1 July 2007 when the fines were increased from £100 to £120 in Inner London for a range of contraventions, many of which only apply to commercial vehicles.

The scheme was extended outside London under the 2004 Traffic Management Act Part 6, which came into force on 31 March 2008.

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