Motorists who appeal parking tickets should be given a 25 per cent discount off their fines, MP watchdogs have suggested, even if they lose the appeal.
Currently, motorists are entitled to a 50 per cent discount if they pay fines promptly. However, under current rules, the right to that discount is waived if a motorist decides to appeal. Under the proposed rule change, motorists would be entitled to a 25 per cent discount if their appeal is unsuccessful.
“There is a deep-rooted public perception that parking enforcement is used as a cash cow, so it’s essential that local authorities apply stringent transparency,” Labour MP and transport committee chairman Louise Ellman told the BBC.
Other plans proposed to help the motorist include freezing charges, which are currently capped at £130 in London and £70 for the rest of the country, giving motorists a five-minute grace period over their allotted time and greater transparency when it comes to local authorities. “Annual parking accounts would allow the public to see how much local revenue is derived from the enforcement of fines, and what proportion of this comes from on- or off-street parking charges,” the MP added.
While a 25 per cent discount is better than nothing, one motoring organisation expressed disappointment at the half-measure. “Offering a 25 per cent discount to those who lose appeals is a step in the right direction but we still feel that the full discount should be offered,” AA president Edmund King told the Daily Mail.
A report by the Local Government Association estimated surplus revenue made from off-street parking was £411 million in 2011/2012. The RAC Foundation believes the number is much higher, at £565 million.