The news that motorists are paying more than £30 million a month in parking fines, comes as no surprise to the Freight Transport Association (FTA) who have long been working with its members to manage their Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs).
The most recent statistics revealed that 890,000 parking tickets are being issued by councils across the UK each and every month, which is equivalent to 1,200 an hour, but unsurprisingly it is a London Borough at the top of the list.
According to figures obtained via a Freedom of Information request, parking wardens in the City of Westminster are the busiest in the country, handing out an average of 1,269 parking fines a day.
FTA’s own PCN Survey revealed a 50 per cent leap in the number of penalty charge notices (PCNs) being issued in London, which has led the FTA to call on its members to train their drivers in identifying PCN hotspots.
The FTA’s PCN Survey 2012; 27 companies surveyed had paid £2.9 million in fines and a rise in costs which was directly related to the increase in the number of PCNs issued on the capital’s roads.
In reply to the increasing number of PCNs being issued, FTA is helping members with the mammoth administration task they face by offering a PCN Administration Support service. The Association also has a range of compliance and support materials to help members manage their PCNs including a Compliance Guide, Driver Card and a Delivery Assessment Guide, which was written with the co-operation of a Westminster Council official and provides valuable help and advice for commercial vehicle operators.
Amongst the findings of the FTA report, was that one-third of the enforcement authorities accounted for nearly all PCNs issued (80 per cent), with the London Borough of Westminster, London Borough of Camden, City of London and Transport for London more likely to issue to PCNs to FTA members than other London boroughs. The survey also clearly identified locations where drivers were more likely to receive PCNs, providing valuable information for operators and drivers in respect of areas in which to be vigilant for parking restrictions.
The report explored trends in PCNs in relation to six key areas: enforcement authorities, PCN hotspots (street/location), whether issued by CCTV or civil enforcement officer, contravention codes, appeals and costs.
Companies delivering goods on the roadside in London typically attract PCNs, albeit quite innocently. Although these are often successfully contested, many are not and the industry still pays many millions of pounds in PCNs each year.
Natalie Chapman, FTA’s Head of Policy for London said:
"FTA is working with its members to help them better manage their PCNs through identifying hotspots and improving driver training. A well-targeted and intelligent approach to appealing unfair PCNs could save some companies hundreds of thousands of pounds a year. However, in some locations there is simply no-where for drivers to stop to make deliveries, therefore commercial vehicle operators have grown smarter when dealing with the problems of making deliveries in the unfriendly roadside environment of central London."
Ms Chapman added:
"The findings of the FTA survey suggest that there is a need for them to improve their understanding of how certain parking restrictions apply."