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FTA: PCNs a policy failure not enforcement success

30 October 2013

The Transport Select Committee has announced recommendations to the Government regarding Local Authority Parking Enforcements in England.

Included is that they should discuss with road hauliers and local authorities innovative ways of dealing with the needs of businesses, and that greater clarity should be provided on the rules for loading and unloading.

The report’s recommendations reflected the views of the Freight Transport Association’s (FTA’s) evidence provided to a recent inquiry looking at Local Authority Parking Enforcement in England. FTA had told the House of Commons Transport Select Committee of the impact and costs of local authority parking enforcement on business, which was acknowledged within today’s report.  

FTA’s Managing Director of Policy & Communications- James Hookham had provided oral evidence to the Transport Select Committee when he had stressed that the Traffic Management Act (TMA), that governs local authority parking policy, was in need of fundamental review as it fails to distinguish between ‘parking provision’, which is mainly concerned with private cars, and deliveries to commercial and residential premises, which are an essential economic activity.

As a result the Transport Committee has advised the Government to hold a ‘roundtable’ discussion with road hauliers and local authorities to identify and then disseminate innovate ways of dealing with conflicts between delivery needs and parking controls.

The Committee’s recommendations have been received as good news by FTA which is delighted that points raised within its evidence were taken into consideration.

James Hookham said: "FTA is delighted that its voice has been heard on behalf of its members. We told the Transport Committee that the Traffic Management Act (TMA) was in need of fundamental review; the Committee’s recommendation to the Government to hold a roundtable discussion with road hauliers and local authorities has to be a step in the right direction.  Whilst reducing congestion is important, there needs to be a balance, and good provision for deliveries is essential in order to support local businesses.”

In addition the Committee Announcement stated that local authorities must work with local businesses to develop innovative parking solutions that work for their areas while Government should consider developing business rates relief for businesses that invest in affordable town centre parking solutions.

James Hookham had also urged the Committee to recognise that commercial vehicles are in town to make essential deliveries that business and residents rely on.  Given an operating cost of around a pound per minute for Lorries’ to operate in town centres, they are not there to ‘park’, but instead perform an essential economic task.

Mr Hookham added: "No operator sets out to deliberately contravene the restrictions on parking, but the lack of adequate provision means that delivery vehicles have little choice but to stop on restricted routes to gain access to adjacent premises, and become ‘easy pickings’ for enforcement officers. The law needs to be clarified to distinguish between ‘parking’ and ‘delivery and servicing activity’.”

"The issuing of a PCN is a sign of policy failure rather than enforcement success. However, due to the potentially large income local authorities can make from fines, the incentive is not there to reduce the numbers issued. Greater leadership by central government is needed to ensure a consistent and fair application of the parking policy framework which respects the difference between illegal parking and vital business deliveries.”

Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) have long been recognised as a huge financial burden to the freight and logistics industry as has been reflected in FTA’s PCN Survey which reported that the cost to businesses can be millions of pounds a year, and the cost of parking enforcement is not just restricted to the fines themselves; due to the high volumes of PCNs issued to some companies, many are now forced to employ dedicated staff purely to pay and appeal PCNs; while FTA has developed a service to assist its members with this administrative burden.