Sunderland campaigner calls for end to ‘Draconian’ ‘cash cow’ car parking regimes

Neil Herron
Neil Herron
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A PARKING campaigner today welcomed a report which recommends that drivers be given “five minutes’ grace” after their tickets expire before facing fines.

Veteran activist Neil Herron, from Barnes, also backed calls for councils across the country to publish annual parking-charge accounts to refute “cash cow” claims.

The Transport Committee warned it was “neither acceptable nor legal” to use fines to increase revenue, claiming councils make a surplus of hundreds of millions of pounds each year.

“Finally, the Government is addressing the issue of parking enforcement in a practical and common sense way,” said Neil, who has previously taken his parking campaigns to the High Court.

“We have seen city centres decimated with Draconian parking enforcement and businesses suffer as motorists are driven out of town.”

The MPs urged ministers to freeze charges and argued the publication of annual parking accounts would allow the public to see how much local revenue was derived from the enforcement of fines and on- or off-street parking charges.

They also said the Department for Transport’s rules for councils should include a five-minute “grace-and-favour” period after tickets expire before imposing a fine.

“The debate and reform is long overdue but the writing is now on the wall for any councils who have used the motorist as a cash cow,” said Neil.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport denied the “cash cow” claims and said the Government was “reining in over-zealous parking enforcement”.