Local authorities are seeking to align the parking fines of their councils with those imposed in the capital.
Currently, the Government control maximum parking fines charged outside London while parking charges are controlled by councils. The current maximum outside the capital is £70 whereas in London it is almost double at £120.
The British Parking Association, which represents car park operators and councils are defending the proposals. They feel that current charges:
• in some areas are barely higher than the cost of a day’s parking
• encourage motorists to park in areas where they risk penalties
• are an insufficient deterrent
• will mean council taxpayers soon having to make up the shortfall
• being increased would affect only the minority of motorists who get tickets
The new proposals have met with widespread opposition.
Paul Watters of the AA stated: 'That is in clear breach of the Secretary of State's guidelines. The guidelines state that local authorities should not view civil parking enforcement as a way of raising revenue.’
Transport minister Norman Baker said: 'I think motorists will worry that this is perhaps a covert attempt to raise money from them unfairly. That's not the Department for Transport's objective in any way, shape or form.’ Last month he said parking officials should stop treating motorists like a 'cash cow' and said that drivers must be treated with a 'softer touch'.