London Councils reviews parking and traffic penalty charges

London Councils has begun consulting on the level of penalty charges for parking and traffic contraventions on roads controlled by all London boroughs, including the City of London.

The consultation on penalty charge levels relating to parking and traffic enforcement and other additional fees relating to parking, and will run for 12 weeks.

The committee has not reviewed parking, bus lane and moving traffic penalty charges since 2010 and many of the current charges and additional fees have not changed since 2007.

The number of PCNs issued in London has increased by 50% over the last 12 years and London boroughs say they are concerned that the current penalty charge levels are not high enough to encourage compliance and act as a deterrent. There are many examples of people choosing to park where they are not allowed to despite knowing they will receive a penalty charge.

It believes the impact of inflation on penalty charge levels has meant that there has been a reduction in the real value of these charges and additional fees over time. The costs to London boroughs for providing a parking and traffic management service have also increased significantly since 2011.

The capital is split into roads controlled by London boroughs and those controlled by Transport for London. TfL has similar responsibilities to London boroughs for setting penalty charges on their own roads – the Transport for London Route Network (TLRN), or Red Routes. In 2022, following a consultation in 2021, TfL increased parking, bus lane and moving traffic penalty charges on the roads they manage from £130 to £160. The current maximum penalty charge level for contraventions on borough roads remains at £130.

Mayor Philip Glanville, London Councils Executive Member for Climate Change, Transport and Environment, said: “London boroughs are committed to making our roads safe and accessible for everyone. By effectively managing parking and traffic we can incentivise people to drive and park safely, protect access, crossing and junctions, and increase active travel such as walking, cycling and rented e-scooter use. We can also improve bus prioritisation, reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality.

“Today’s consultation is a crucial part of the Transport and Environment Committee’s decision-making process on penalty charge levels and additional fees, and anyone who uses London’s roads can have their say on the new proposals. We are dedicated to ensuring the plans don’t negatively impact lower income and more vulnerable people and welcome all input into this consultation.”

However the RAC has criticised the move. Head of policy Simon Williams said: “We can see no justification whatsoever for putting up these fines. It’s bizarre that we’re now getting to the stage where a driver can be fined almost as much for an innocent mistake as they are for dangerously driving using a handheld mobile phone.

“There’s surely only one reason why any council would need penalty charge levels to rise to keep up with inflation – and that’s if they rely on the income they receive from drivers breaking the rules. This is inherently wrong and needs to change. Instead of relying on the revenue, councils should be trying to understand the reasons why people are being caught out and improving signage, but this is never going to happen as it would cost them money and reduce their income. 

“This is also very much the case with yellow box junctions as many aren’t fit for purpose as they don’t comply with government guidance, meaning drivers end up getting fined needlessly.

“There also appears to be not a scrap of evidence that adding another £30 to what drivers pay if they drive in a bus lane or stop in a yellow box will make any difference when it comes to the number of contraventions as such a high proportion are innocent mistakes.”

(Picture – Yay Images)


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