Wired-GOV Newswire (news from other organisations)
LGA - Millions in unpaid foreign car parking fines written off by councils every year
Millions of pounds worth of unpaid parking fines have to be written off each year by councils unable to trace drivers of foreign vehicles.
A snapshot Local Government Association (LGA) poll of a third of councils found thousands of tickets issued to vehicles registered outside the UK parking are being ripped up if unpaid within 28 days.
Examples of the cost to councils include:
In the past 12 months, Bournemouth Council has been forced to write off £57,000 worth of parking fines to foreign-registered vehicles while Maidstone Council has written off £28,455 worth of tickets.
Leicester City Council has written off £20,000 in tickets in the past year. Torbay Council is owed £15,810, Milton Keynes Council £13,365 and Doncaster Council has had to rip up £12,000 worth of tickets.
Two per cent of all parking tickets issued in Brighton are given to non-UK registered vehicles, at a value of around £2,000 a month. The majority of these go unpaid.
Oxfordshire, Southampton and Portsmouth councils have collectively been forced to rip up more than 10,000 tickets issued in the past five years to foreign-registered vehicles valued at more than £500,000.
EU rules allow European vehicles to drive on UK roads for six months before having to register with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). However, the Government does not keep a record of the estimated three million entering the UK each year.
Currently, the DVLA only records information about non-UK-registered vehicles when they are notified through offence reports provided by the police or from tip-offs from the public. This means foreign vehicles are able to disappear within the system by going unregistered.
It leaves town hall parking bosses facing an impossible task to chase payments while laws in other countries mean British drivers parking illegally abroad can be tracked and chased for payments.
The LGA, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, said the Government can get tougher on those trying to cheat the system by logging foreign vehicles entering and exiting the UK and cracking down on those who fail to register after the six-month deadline.
Cllr Peter Box, Chair of the LGA's Economy and Transport Board, said:
"Drivers of foreign-registered vehicles need to realise they are not above the law in this country. Too many are blatantly disregarding thousands of fines for parking every year in this country which is hugely unfair to drivers of British cars who have to pay up if they break the law.
"Reckless and inconsiderate parking by non-UK registered vehicles puts other drivers and pedestrians at risk. The millions of pounds worth of fines written off could also be spent filling potholes, providing bus services and tackling the £12 billion repair backlog to bring our roads up to scratch.
"EU limits allowing foreign-registered cars to drive on our roads for six months before registering are arguably too long. However, the fact the Government isn't actually tracking cars coming in and out of the country and is unaware how many exceed the deadline makes this largely irrelevant.
"Introducing a central database would allow the Government to get tougher on people failing to register their vehicle. A crackdown on those trying to cheat the system would see a greater number registered to UK addresses and councils finally able chase payment of some of these outstanding parking fines."
Greg Burns, Senior Media Relations Officer
Local Government Association
Telephone: 020 7664 3184
Media Office (for out-of-hours contact): 020 7664 3333
Local Government House, Smith Square, London SW1P 3HZ
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