NEW RIGHTS COULD LET YOU CHALLENGE YELLOW LINES AND UNFAIR PARKING FINES – AND JUST 50 SIGNATURES NEEDED
New rights which COULD allow local residents or local firms to raise a petition which would require a council review of the use of yellow lines and unfair parking charges have been announced by Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles. (30 August 2014).
“The Secretary of State believes the changes will give local people a direct and democratic say over yellow line road restrictions in their area and the power to challenge existing council parking policies” says a joint statement by Mr Pickles, the Department for Communities and Local Government, and the Department for Transport
“A minimum of 50 council tax payers’ signatures or at least 10 per cent of the residents or businesses in the affected local areas is being proposed.
“This new right will give local residents, a simple, fair and transparent mechanism for all road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, people with disabilities, shop keepers and local business men and women, to raise concerns about the placement of yellow lines.”
And following a wider consultation on over-zealous parking the government will now amend statutory guidance to introduce a system that will mean a petition triggers a local authority review of any aspect of parking policy, adds the statement.
“In response to a petition, local authorities will be required to review their parking policy in a specified location, and produce a report for consideration by councillors in an appropriate public council meeting.
“If needed, the government is ready to consider the case for entrenching in legislation” the statement adds.
Eric Pickles said: “Too often yellow lines are imposed on neighbourhoods or the high street without fair consideration of the livelihood of residents, local shops or the availability of parking spaces.
“Now local people will have a direct and democratic right to trigger a formal council led review of road restrictions in their area.
“Town centres need to allow for proper traffic flow, but incessant yellow lines, CCTV spy cars and trigger-happy parking wardens make everyday life unbearable for drivers looking for somewhere to park when shopping locally.
“This government is standing up for hard working people and tackling over-zealous parking enforcement practices and unfair parking charges that force people away from the high street and into out-of-town shopping centres or online.”
A discussion paper proposes that the arrangements for responding to petitions should be determined locally.
But the government is proposing that local authorities should ensure their arrangements include:
a public statement on how they will manage any challenges to their parking policies. This statement could cover how reviews will be carried out, low long they will take, public consultation requirements, and how the final decision will be taken and communicated following the review.
The statement should also cover any circumstances where a petition will not be considered (e.g. vexatious petitioners, within a stated minimum period after a previous review in the same area);
publication of the details of all petitions received with clear information on what aspects of parking policy are being challenged; the timeline for reviewing the challenged policy and how local residents and businesses can engage in that review;
the report of the review, and any recommendations, are considered and voted on by councillors
the organiser of the petition should be kept updated on progress, and notified when the report is due to be considered and the outcome of the challenge;
publish the outcome of all reviews.
Any petition submitted must also include the following:
a clear description of the geographical area covered by the petition (which could be a road, a series of roads, a polling district, a ward or indeed, the whole council area);
a clear description of which aspects of parking policy are being challenged, with justification
names, dates and addresses for all people and/or businesses signing the petition;
contact details for the organiser of the petition, who shall be the first point of contact for follow up questions, and for notification of progress.
The Operational Guidance to local authorities on the Traffic Management Act 2004, states that, in appraising its local parking policy, an authority should take account of the:
existing and projected levels of parking demand
availability and pricing of on- and off-street parking
justification for and accuracy of existing Traffic Regulation Orders
accuracy and quality of traffic signs and road markings that restrict or permit parking
In June 2014 the government published a range of measures designed to help local shops, support drivers and give communities a greater say on parking policies which included:
make it illegal to use closed circuit television (CCTV) ‘spy cars’ alone to enforce on-street parking ending the plague of parking tickets by post;
introduce mandatory 10 minute ‘grace periods’ at the end of on-street paid for and free parking; councils and parking adjudicators, who rule on penalty charge notice appeals, would be obliged to follow the new statutory guidance; any breach would be deemed an illegal fine and trigger a refund
trial a 25pc discount for motorists who lose an appeal against a parking ticket at tribunal on the full price of their parking ticket;
change guidance so motorists parking at an out-of-order meter are not fined if there are no alternative ways to pay;
reform operational parking guidance so it is less heavy handed with motorists, prevents over-aggressive action by bailiffs, positively supports local shops and clearly reinforces the prohibition against parking being used to generate profit;
propose a widening of the powers of parking adjudicators. This could include, for example, measures to protect drivers where adjudicators have repeatedly identified a problem at a specific location, such as inadequate signage, and parking tickets have repeatedly been issued – in such circumstances, potential measures could see adjudicators allowed to direct an authority to stop issuing tickets or direct the authority to change the signage, or indeed both;
update guidance so the public know when they can be awarded costs at tribunals;
increase parking transparency so councils are required to publish how income from parking charges is being used, including a new statutory transparency code;
maintain a freeze on parking penalty charges for the remainder of this Parliament
(Source: Department for Transport press release)
DRIVERS WARNED TO BE AWARE OIF YOUNGSTERS ON THEIR DAILY COMMUTE BY IAM SURVEY….
Leading road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has issued a warning to drivers to stay on their guard on their daily commute, as distracted youngsters make their way home from school at the start of the autumn term.
Many schools in England return from the summer break this week, and as is the case each year the risk of an accident becomes significantly greater as the school run brings with it a 20 pc growth in rush hour traffic.
While much has been said about watching out for youngsters on their way to school, the IAM has warned that a greater risk comes on the way home from school – where under 16’s are more likely to be distracted by playing with their friends, listening to music or interacting on social media on their phones.
Existing research from the Department for Transport’s THINK! initiative showed that 62pc of 11-16 year olds admit to being distracted by talking to friends as they cross the road, a similar number had to stop a friend from having an accident by either pulling them back or calling out, and 36pc of girls and 25pc of boys say they get distracted by using their mobile phones. (Source: Institute of Advanced Motorists press release)
…….AS DRIVERS ADMIT BEING EASILY DISTRACTED ON FASTER ROADS
Drivers’ worst habits on the nation’s fastest roads have been revealed in new research by the RAC, which shows motorists admit to eating, drinking and reaching into the foot well while driving on the motorway.
The top five bad habits also include changing a CD and adjusting a sat-nav while at the wheel on the UK’s busiest major roads, prompting a call from the RAC to remind drivers to take care at all times and ensure their focus is always on the road ahead.
The survey of 1,600 drivers about their behaviour behind the wheel found 57%pc admitted to opening a bottle and having a drink while driving; 48pc said they change CDs; 35pc have eaten a sandwich and almost a third, 29pc are distracted by adjusting their sat-nav system.
A further 15pc even admitted reaching for items in the glove box or foot well at the same time as driving at around 70mph.
While motorists may not believe they are doing anything wrong, their actions clearly go against the Highway Code which states: ‘Avoid distractions when driving or riding such as trying to read maps, inserting CD or tuning a radio, arguing with your passengers or other road users, eating and drinking’ say the RAC.
Of the drivers who took part in the survey, by far the worst offenders were the 17-35 age group where 61pc say they change a CD in the car and 41pc take their eyes off the road to adjust sat-nav systems.
In addition to the distractions from in-car technology, one in 10 respondents has also engaged in a heated argument with a passenger, posing further danger to themselves and other motorway users.
According to the latest available statistics from the Department for Transport, distraction or impairment accounted for almost 14,000 accidents on British roads in 2012. (Source: RAC press release)
“DON’T HAVE A TAXING TIME OVER VEHICLE TAX CHANGES” SAY IAM.
With the abolition of the vehicle tax disc taking effect from 1 October and a flurry of confused people asking about the situation through social media, the Institute of Advanced Motorists has taken the opportunity to clarify what the rules are.
“Basically you will still need to buy vehicle tax to keep any vehicle on the road” say the IAM.
“You will still receive a reminder from the DVLA, and you can continue paying using the previous methods. “But now you will be able to pay by continuous direct debit – meaning there will never be a risk of forgetting to pay, and driving with an out-of-date disc.
“The direct debit will continue as long as there is a valid MOT for the vehicle.
“You can apply online to tax your vehicle using the 16 digit reference code from your vehicle tax renewal reminder (V11) or 11 digit reference number from your log book (V5C).
“One major change the new road tax rules has created is that vehicle tax can no longer be transferred with the vehicle if you sell it – often an added incentive when purchasing a vehicle.
“If after 1 October you sell a vehicle and have notified the DLVA, you will automatically receive a refund for any full months remaining on that vehicle tax.
“You will now always have to buy new vehicle tax when you purchase a new or used vehicle.
And as of 1 October, you will no longer be obliged to display a paper tax disc on your car – so you are free to remove and destroy it.
“But you might want to keep it as a souvenir, if you are feeling sentimental over the disappearance of an iconic part of UK motoring life!” say the IAM.
For more information visit the website https://www.gov.uk/government/news/vehicle-tax-changes
(Source: Institute of Advanced Motorists press release)