PLANS to relax parking enforcement laws in Portsmouth have been welcomed by the man who helps to manage the city’s roads.
Councillor Jason Fazackarley, the city council’s cabinet member for traffic and transport, said giving motorists five minutes extra at the end of their parking time would be beneficial and save them cash.
It comes as the government said it felt some councils were using parking fines to generate revenue.
In a bid to combat this, the government said it may order local authorities to bring in a five-minute ‘grace period’ before issuing tickets when cars remain parked in bays for too long.
It will also look to reduce fixed-penalty charges, which has a maximum of £70 per fine outside of London.
Cllr Fazackarley said: ‘I don’t have any problem with the government giving a five-minute relax period, that is understandable.
‘I think it’s unfortunate for drivers and motorists if they are two or three minutes late getting back to their car, and they are then fined £30 to £50 – it’s obviously very frustrating.
‘People can still appeal their tickets if there is a particular reason why they are delayed, such as if someone was involved in an accident or if someone had collapsed.’
The government said it will also look at banning the use of CCTV cameras to enforce on-street parking restrictions.
‘With regards to the use of cameras, we as a local authority don’t use any, and we don’t actively have any speed cameras operating in the city – they are switched off,’ added Cllr Fazackarley.
‘There is a proposal for us to bring in camera enforcement on the bus lanes as part of the Tipner park and ride.
‘But this is not to do with on-street parking.
‘That is to keep the bus lanes up and running and clear.’
Talking about claims that councils use parking fines as a ‘cash cow’, Cllr Fazackarley said: ‘People see it as that and I totally understand.
‘But legally, we are not allowed to introduce charges for the sole purpose of generating income.
‘Income clearly comes in from penalty charge notices, but we can’t introduce a whole load of parking spaces under the pretence of raising money.’
The government plans come after Cllr Fazackarley decided to throw out proposals for more parking meters across Portsmouth last month.