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London Borough of Barnet: High Court Parking Charges Decision Background This is a High Court judgement which held

that council powers to charge for onstreet parking were closely proscribed by the provisions of sections 46, 55 and 122 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (The 1984 Act). These provisions could not be used for general tax-raising purposes by councils. A local authority was not entitled to exercise its powers under section 45 for the purposes of raising surplus revenue to defray other road expenditure and reduce the need to raise income from other sources such as fines, charges and council tax. Mrs. Justice Lang so held when allowing a claim for judicial review of the decision of the defendant local authority, Barnet Borough Council, to increase the charges for residents parking permits and visitor vouchers in Controlled Parking Zones in the borough. Attached at Appendix 1 are the relevant statutory provisions, in particular sections 45 and 122. Mrs. Justice Lang held that a local authority had discretion to review its parking policies. This was not restricted to levying a charge only to cover the base cost of running a scheme. However section 122 was not intended to authorise a local authority to raise a levy on parking permit holders to fund any project which met the objectives set out in section 122. Such an intention was not expressly stated and could neither be implied. The 1984 Act was not a revenue raising or taxing statute. It did not authorise a local authority to use its powers to charge local residents for parking in order to raise surplus revenue to defray other road traffic expenditure and reduce the need to raise income from other sources such as fines, charges and council tax. It is understood that Barnet are not appealing this decision. Impact of the decision The decision is clear that section 45 does not permit a charge for the express purpose of raising revenue for matters unconnected to parking provision under section 45. If unintentionally a surplus is raised in any period, such a surplus may be applied for the purposes specified in section 55(4) of the Act such as the making good to the general fund of any amount charged to that fund in 4 years immediately preceding the financial year in question, meeting the cost of road improvement projects in the local authoritys area and other specified purposes. A surplus can only be so applied if it is raised without the express intention and purpose to so raise it. As far as Haringey is concerned reports to Cabinet from 2010 through to 2011 on parking charges have been scrutinised and these clearly set out the transport policy, traffic management, parking management reasons for proposed changes in charges. The reports therefore show supporting evidence of an intention to stay within the parameters of sections 45 and 122 of the 1984 Act.

The councils charging policy and practice The councils surplus on parking for the financial year 2013-2014 is expected to be approximately 6m, with the total spend for transport being estimated at around 25m (including concessionary fares, highway maintenance, street lighting and road safety) which means that the parking surplus is less than 25% of the total spend on transport. It should also be pointed out the vast majority of parking income derives from Penalty Charge Notices. Income is therefore spread across the borough and does not come only from pay-and-display charges or resident permits in CPZs. In addition the fees for PCNs are not set by the council but by the Department for Transport. There are only two relevant areas in which the council serves as a fee-setting authority and these are pay and display charges and resident permits. The council adopted an emission based permit charging policy in 2007 and it was only in 2011/12 that they were subsequently increased by between 25% and 66% which brought prices in line with other London boroughs. Since that time prices have risen only by 3%. A detailed review of permit income and costs was undertaken in 2011 and at that point a surplus was not discerned. Since then there have only been inflational increases so the position would not have changed significantly. Conclusion The Barnet decision provided further clarification on the law in the area of parking permit charges but for the reasons given it is not likely that the charging decisions of this council can be impugned on its merits. APPENDIX 1 Section 45 of the 1984 Act provides: A local authority may by order designate parking places on highwaysin their area for vehicles or vehicles of any class specified in the order; and the authority may make charges(of such amount as may be prescribed under section 46 below) for vehicles left in a parking place so designated.. Section 122 of the Act provides: (1) It shall be the duty of every local authority upon whom functions are conferred by or under this Act to exercise the functions conferred on them (so far as is practicable having regard to matters specified in subsection (2) below)to secure the expeditious, convenient and safe movement of vehicular and other traffic.and the provision of suitable and adequate facilities on and off the highway.

(2) The matters referred to in subsection (1) above as being specified in this subsection are(a) the desirability of securing and maintaining reasonable access to premises; (b) the effect on the amenities of any locality affected and ..the importance of regulating and restricting the use of roads by heavy commercial vehicles. (bb) the strategy prepared under section 80 of the Environment Act 1995(national air quality strategy); (c) the importance of facilitating the passage of public service vehicles and for securing the safety and convenience of persons using or desiring to use such vehicles; and (d) any other matter appearing to the local authority.to be relevant.