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New parking laws explained: Where does the 10-minute grace period apply?

The government is fighting back against ‘cowboy’ parking firms, but the new rules are anything but clear-cut. Ben Griffin explains how you can avoid getting a ticket unnecessarily.

Keeping a car on the road is expensive, especially with overly-keen parking attendants slapping cars with tickets left, right and centre. So kudos to the government for introducing a 10-minute grace period that stops cowboy parking firms from being greedy ‘over-zealous’.

But there are fears motorists are misunderstanding the rules, which only apply to certain types of parking space. So read our guide to the new regulations and save yourself hassle and money.

So what is the 10-minute grace period?

As of April the 6th 2015, you can park for 10 minutes longer than your ticket expires. So if you’re struggling to find where you left your car, have kids deciding now is the time to play hide and seek or some other reason for being late, you now have a bit of leeway.

So when does the 10-minute grace period apply?

The 10-minute grace period applies to free and paid parking spaces both on-street and off-street, whether that’s in a council owned car park or similar.

To quote the Westminster government legal spiel, it covers the following instances:

  • at the start of controlled hours when the bay reverts from being uncontrolled to controlled
  • upon expiry of a paid-for session during controlled hours
  • upon expiry of a permitted ‘free’ parking period during controlled hours (eg a maximum stay)

So when does it not apply?

This is where it gets a bit murky. The 10-minute grace period only applies if you have a ticket, so anyone who quickly parks and dashes into a shop to get some change so they can use the parking machine can be fined.

It also only applies if you have a ticket in the first place, so you could get fined if you stay in a bay waiting for that space to become free to park in. 

Then there’s the fact the regulation change only applies to England and not Wales and that yellow line parking is not included, whether single or a double. Oh, and spaces in front of dropped kerbs or permit bays are also exempt from the grace period.

Here’s the official Westminster spiel on when the grace period does not apply:

  • anywhere outside of a parking bay, for example on yellow lines, loading bans, footway, when double parked etc
  • where a vehicle is parked in a permitted parking bay during controlled hours without permission, without a permit or without having made payment (beyond the first 10 minutes of control).

So I must have a ticket and be in the right type of space?

Correct. Ensure you have the change to buy a ticket before parking and that it’s not a yellow line, dropped kerb or permit bay parking space otherwise you can be slapped with a parking ticket as per the old rules.

What else changed?

The government also clamped down on a few other annoyance, including the ability to fine a driver for parking at an out-of-order parking meter, that bailiffs refrain from using ‘overly aggressive action’ and that using parking to generate profit is prohibited.

Parking adjudicators were also given stronger powers to ‘hold councils to account so they can seek to address parking problems’ (such as unclear signage that leads to a ticket) and to ensure parking policies support local shops who already have a hard enough time competing with online shopping.

What about that bloody CCTV parking enforcement?

Those annoying ‘spy cars’ (the ones with a camera on top) have been banned in all but ‘the majority of circumstances’. As of April the 1st 2015, any form of CCTV parking enforcement can only be allowed in school keep clear markings, bus stop / stand clearways, red routes and bus lanes.

It’s worth noting the change to CCTV rules only apply to parking so you can still be fined if you get caught in, say, a banned turn or box junction.

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