Few things in life are more irritating than a motorist finding a legitimate place to park, after spending 20 minutes circumnavigating any given area. Then upon paying what could be the equivalent of the combined transfer fee of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the aforementioned space, you find that you've received a parking fine, placed upon your windscreen due to the fact that you have committed the heinous crime of over-staying in the parking space for 90 seconds. It's infuriating....and also illegal.
In 2014, Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, announced changes as to how councils could enforce parking regulations. These changes became law in 2015, yet many motorists are blissfilully ignorant of these changes. This ignorance of those changes could be costing drivers hundreds of pounds, as some unscrupulous council parking operatives, continue to issue penalty charge notices, knowing full well that they are illegal......so what are these changes, or Pickles Law as its known.
All drivers are entitled to a 10 minute "grace period", after their ticket or allocated parking time expires. This does not mean that you can park in any given space free of charge, what it does mean is that if you have paid for an hours parking in any given space, and you are running late, you no longer have to panic in getting back to your vehicle in time as you have a 10 minute leeway. Any ticket which has been issued within that 10 minute period is illegal and can be challenged. What drivers do need to be aware of is that this legislation applies only to council run parking facilities, whether it be a car-park or roadside parking. It does not apply to private parking areas, so always read the signage in the area.
Another feature of Pickles Law is that drivers can no longer be fined via CCTV or camera car on yellow lines.
It is important to make a distinction between both yellow lines and the red lines in London. Whilst all yellow lined areas are local council controlled, red lines fall under the jurisdiction of Transport for London, and therefore CAN be enforced by CCTV.
CCTV and camera cars can still be used to enforce what could be construed as dangerous areas of the road or where there are vehicular prohibitions, such as bus lanes or box junctions.
An important aspect of the change in legislation is the fact that both residents and businesses can now ask for a review on parking facilities in a given area, which may include parking costs as well as where yellow lines may be sited.
Parking adjudicators can also now hold councils to account over unclear, confusing or non-existant signage.
Councils are now no longer able to profiteer from punitive or disproportionate parking fines, which had become a huge industry until the intervention of Eric Pickles.
Amazingly, three years after passing through parliament, many are completely unaware of the legislative changes.
Ultimately, always park legally, always pay for your space where required, but do not fall for the nonsense which is still perpetuated by some parking operatives. Always do your research if you receive a fine, always appeal, if necessary go to adjudication, but most importantly do not ignore any penalty notice which is issued.
Remember you may not be above the law.....but neither are councils and their parking officials.