The figure we reveal today of the cost of foreign drivers not paying their motoring fines to Portsmouth City Council is truly shocking.
In total, the council is out of pocket to the tune of a not-insubstantial £140,000. And how do drivers get away with it? Easy. They just drive away.
Because cars from outside the UK are not on the DVLA database they can’t be traced, therefore the drivers get away scot-free.
It’s a gaping loophole and one that’s a growing problem as more and more foreign nationals bring their cars to the UK, where they now, perfectly legally, live and work.
So it’s reassuring to see that the council is not taking the problem lying down.
It’s decided to tackle the problem head-on – an approach we approve of.
The council is employing a company to chase down the drivers who try to get away with it – one of only two authorities taking this pro-active approach.
It’s costing the council, yes – the firm takes a 30 per cent cut of the outstanding fine – but the end result is two-fold.
Council coffers will, quite rightly, be swelled.
And drivers will get the message that the city is not an easy touch for those that flout parking regulations.
So far, 300 of the 1,000 outstanding fines have been paid, which is a strong start. Hopefully many more will follow.
And the money is being put to good use.
As Cllr Jason Fazackarley says: ‘The cash is going back to the taxpayers and into council coffers to spend on road improvements and parking improvements in the city’.
We can only hope the fines scheme is a success and will lead to benefits for all road-users.