Stationary vehicles have become a major source of income for local councils as the government gives them more and more new responsibilities but fails to provide funding.
Some councils let their brain-dead employees take this philosophy to extremes.
A traffic warden working for Camden Council, for instance, issued a parking ticket to the driver of a lorry, whose vehicle had become stuck in a hole in the road.
Thames Water had decided not to cone off damage to the road in Belsize Park, North London, caused by a burst water main and the road collapsed under the weight of the lorry.
The driver protested to the traffic warden, and the residents of the street came out to take her picture with their phone-cameras, but the female jobsworth just ignored the derision, wrote the ticket and went trolled merrily away.
Camden Council refused to cancel the parking ticket but a spokesperson told Meyers of Stratford, the owners of the lorry, that they could waste their time and some public money by lodging an appeal.
As a result of a failure of common sense on the part of the traffic warden and the council, Meyers are having to do just that.
Picture credit: Sue Melkman
The Commons Transport Select Committe
has condemned rogue councils
In a report published in June 2006, the committee recommended that councils should not be allowed to make incentive payments to parking wardens and their companies to maximize the number of tickets issued. Wardens must show more discretion and the grace period before clamping can be permitted should be extended to one hour.
The Committee also recommended that the appeals process be made simpler and clearer, that councils must respond to challenges promptly, that 14-day discounts can be applied even after an appeal fails and that councils should pay compensation when they inconvenience motorists unduly.
The other proposals include greater transparency over how cash is raised from tickets and fines, better training for wardens, chasing up foreign drivers to make sure that they pay their fines, making parking information signs clearer and more prominent, and creating a national parking adjudication system with a fast appeals division.
A complication . . .
Anyone who has had their car towed 10 seconds after a meter ran out, or a pay & display ticket expired, is having their human rights violated. The head of the National Parking Adjudication Service, Mrs. Caroline Sheppard, has concluded that the human right to enjoyment of possessions is being curtailed.
This right can be abridged when enforcement of the law is concerned, but councils greedy for cash are jumping the gun when it comes to charging the higher fees for ransoming a vehicle back to the owner. They should show more proportionality, which is just a fancy term for good, old-fashioned common sense and vehicles should be towed away only when they are causing an obstruction.
Ransoming vehicles is worth £1.2 billion per year to local councils.
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