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Thousands of Norwich parking fines cancelled

New figures have revealed how more than 3,700 parking fines issued in Norwich were cancelled.

New figures have revealed how more than 3,700 parking fines issued in Norwich were cancelled.

Archant © 2006

More than 3,700 parking tickets in Norwich were cancelled last year, new figures have revealed, but council bosses still pulled in more than £760,000 from the fines which were paid.

And almost 200 drivers of foreign-registered vehicles got away without paying their fines, because there is no way to trace them.

Between April last year and March this year Norwich City Council issued more than 25,000 penalty charge notices to drivers who flouted parking rules.

The council issues penalty charge notices to drivers who park in its pay and display car parks without proper tickets, to those who park in areas of permit parking without a permit and to those who unlawfully park in car parks set aside for council tenants.

The costs, of £70 or £50 depending on the seriousness of the contravention is cut by 50pc if paid within two weeks, but 3,774 drivers had their tickets written off.

Council officers said the main reason for tickets being cancelled was that there was a lack of information available from the DVLA to enable them to catch those hit with tickets. That was the case with 183 foreign-registered vehicles.

Other reasons were because the owners of the vehicles did turn out to have valid tickets or permits, or because they were blue badge holders.

Waiving tickets cost the city council more than £180,000, but the 19,812 which were paid generated just over £760,000 for the authority. The council is still trying to recover money in a further 1,474 cases.

The council said the money raised from tickets issued for on-street infringements went to the running of the enforcement service, including staff, equipment, office accommodation and vehicles, with any surplus paid to the county council.

Money raised from off-street car parking fines also helps run the service, the council said, but any surplus there goes to Norwich City Council’s general revenue account to support other services.

A spokeswoman for Norwich City Council said: “We make every effort to enable people to pay their fines before resorting to final measures, such as enforcement agencies.

“We follow a procedure to recover any unpaid penalty charge notices and only after exhausting all the options to pursue the fine will a penalty charge notice be written off.”

The average nationally is 75pc paid and 25pc waived. Norwich City Council’s collection rate is slightly above the average at 78.5pc.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils, recently called on the government to do more to make sure vehicles registered outside the UK did not get away without paying fines.

The government does not routinely keep a record of the estimated three million such vehicles entering the UK each year and the DVLA only records information about them through offence reports provided by the police or from tip-offs from the public.

The LGA said that leaves councils facing an “impossible task” to chase those who flout parking rules and has urged the government to get tougher.

Peter Box, chairman of the LGA’s economy and transport board, said: “Drivers of foreign-registered vehicles need to realise they are not above the law in this country.

“Too many are blatantly disregarding thousands of fines for parking every year in this country which is hugely unfair to drivers of British cars who have to pay up if they break the law.

“Reckless and inconsiderate parking by non-UK registered vehicles puts other drivers and pedestrians at risk. The millions of pounds worth of fines written off could also be spent filling potholes, providing bus services and tackling the £12bn repair backlog to bring our roads up to scratch.

“Introducing a central database would allow the government to get tougher on people failing to register their vehicle. A crackdown on those trying to cheat the system would see a greater number registered to UK addresses and councils finally able chase payment of some of these outstanding parking fines.”

• What’s your view? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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