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Motorists to receive 10 minute parking leeway

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As of next week, all drivers in England who make use of council parking spots will have an extra ten minutes on top of their stated parking allowance in which to return to their car.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles said the move would put an end to drivers returning to their cars within moments of their tickets expiring to find they have already been slapped with a fine.

Pickles went on to say that “over-zealous” parking enforcement and “unreasonable stealth fines” amounted to little more than “criminalising” drivers.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin also commented on the development, saying it marked the beginning of the end of the war on motorists. Along with the 10 minute grace period, under the new rules CCTV ‘spy cars’ will be banned, and “local residents and businesses will now be able to demand a review of parking in their area, including charges and the use of yellow lines…they can look to change signs and stop fines in areas where parking tickets keep being issued.”

Councils will also be barred from profiting from parking fines. According to figures issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government last year, councils on average make almost as much from fines as they do from meters, permits and other parking fees, and drivers have incurred an average of £350m in penalties annually in the last five years.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, welcomed the news. “For such a minor part of our lives, parking generates a huge amount of frustration and anger. Allowing a grace period will help ease tensions and make everyone’s lives easier.”

“The shame,” he concluded, “is that ministerial intervention has been necessary to deal with heavy-handed and disproportionate penalties.”


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