Are parking fines unfair? - COMMENT ON THIS STORY

MORE parking tickets were issued by East Riding of Yorkshire Council in one month in Bridlington than Humberside Police issued in an entire year.

The Free Press can reveal that in the 12 months from November 1 2010, until October 31 last year, Humberside Police issued just 319 parking tickets in Bridlington.

In November last year – the first month since it took over non pay-and-display, on street parking enforcement from the police –the council ticketed 363 vehicles.

The Free Press newsdesk has received a number of complaints from irate residents who felt their cars had been unfairly targeted by the council’s new traffic wardens – known as Civil Enforcement Officers – who patrol the town. But Nigel Leighton, director of environment and neighbourhood services at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, defended the action, saying the council “takes a sensible, balanced and, above all, fair approach to civil parking enforcement”.

Mr Leighton pointed out that the number of tickets issued in the East Riding are still fewer than in many other neighbouring authorities.

The enforcement of parking offences was taken over by the council in November last year after the police told them it no longer had the manpower to deal with traffic management as well as its other duties.

As a force across the entire East Riding, Humberside Police traffic wardens handed out 3,619 tickets during their final year.

The number of tickets issued by East Riding Council were much the same in – continued on Page 3

Bridlington over the last two months with 281 handed out in the town in December and 390 issued in January.

Mr Leighton said: “Since taking over all aspects of parking enforcement from the police in November last year, the council has dealt with dozens of service requests from residents about vehicles parked illegally across the East Riding and continues to receive these on a daily basis.

“The council continues to have a lower monthly average for penalty charge notices (PCNs) issued than other authorities in Yorkshire, which is why we have not contracted out this service to ensure this approach is adopted.

“A robust appeals system is in place to handle any disputed PCNs that are issued by our officers and this is applied fairly across the board.

“Civil Parking Enforcement does have benefits by ensuring that highways are clear of illegally parked vehicles which cause obstruction and congestion, helps with road safety and reduces the adverse effects of illegal parking on town centres.”

A spokesperson for Humberside Police said the force did not want to comment on the figures.

One reason why more tickets were issued by the council could be that they have more staff on the streets.

East Riding council now employ 24 Civil Enforcement Officers and three Civil Enforcement Supervisors county wide – with 11 officers and one supervisor patrolling in Bridlington.

Humberside Police however confirmed that they only had the equivalent of three-and-a-half traffic wardens, which includes one person working part-time, across the entire county in the year leading up to handing over the parking enforcement to the council.

Bridlington’s last full time traffic warden retired in March 2011, with police officers and PCSOs often stepping into the fray in the town.

On average, East Riding council has given out around 940 tickets per month so far, which is lower than the average of neighbouring councils in both Scarborough (1,683) and Hull (1,739).

Ticket fines tend to fall into two bands, £50 and £70, which are halved if paid within 14 days.