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Civil Parking Enforcement

Annual Report 2008-09

1. Introduction:

1.1 Dorset County Council has been operating Civil Parking Enforcement across its six District
Areas since July 2002. Christchurch Borough Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough
Council manage on street parking on behalf of the County Council whilst Dorset County Council
is directly responsible for on street parking in East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck and West
Dorset. In addition, Dorset County Council enforces parking regulations in off street car parks
on behalf of North Dorset District Council, Purbeck District Council and Wareham Town Council.

1.2 The purpose of parking enforcement is to prevent obstructions in order to reduce traffic
congestion and improve the safety of all road users. It encourages compliance with the parking
regulations and allows effective management of the on-street parking stock. The number of
Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) issued in Dorset has decreased in the last year. This decrease
follows national trend and is an indication of better compliance with the parking regulations
generally.

1.3 Dorset is a rural county which attracts many tourists to attractive towns and villages and to
its coastline. Residents, businesses, shoppers, commuters and visitors have different parking
needs and parking enforcement is required for the benefit of all road users. These needs are
reviewed from time to time and some changes are implemented under new Traffic Regulation
Orders (TROs) following consultation with the Police, Emergency Services, Elected Members,
relevant District, Town and Parish Councils. Public consultation is carried out via notices in the
press and on street together with letter drops to local residents and/or businesses as
appropriate.

Dorset Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs)


2002 to 2009

16000
14000 2002/03 (9 months)
12000 2003/04
10000 2004/05
8000
2005/06
6000
4000 2006/0
2000 2007/08
0 2008/09
1

1.4 The Parking Service is financed from penalty charges, permits and pay & display income.
The objective is to achieve a self-financing service so that it is not a burden on the public purse
whilst maintaining the quality and efficiency of the parking operation and statutory appeals.

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2. Parking Information:

2.1 Parking information is available to the public on the Council Website at


www.dorsetforyou.com/ with links to neighbouring Local Authorities, DVLA, the Traffic Penalties
Tribunal and the Department for Transport (DfT).

2.2 More information about parking regulations and what to do if one receives a PCN can be
found at www.patrol-uk.info .

2.3 The Council email address for parking enquiries and appeals is parking @dorsetcc.gov.uk
and the telephone number 01258 450 447. The Parking Office is open from 9 am to 5 pm,
Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays.

3. Enforcement:

3.1 Uniformed Civil Enforcement Officers or CEOs (formerly known as Traffic Wardens or
Parking Attendants) enforce the parking regulations as set out in the Traffic Management Act
2004 (TMA) and the TROs. CEOs are City & Guilds qualified and carry out their duties as set
out in the TMA statutory guidelines and instructions issued by the Council.

3.2 In 2008/09, 13,842 contraventions resulted in the issue of a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).
74 % of contraventions occurred On-Street, 26 % in car parks. In 2007/08, 14,909 PCNs were
issued, 71 % on street, 29 % in car parks.

3.3 The majority of contraventions are recorded in towns and tourist locations. Whilst CEOs visit
rural areas, in most cases they will not observe any infringements to the parking regulations.
Quite often, drivers will be in or near their vehicles and the CEOs will be able to move the
vehicles on without having to issue a PCN.

PCNs issued in Dorset by District


08/09

EDDC
NDDC
Pur beck
WDDC

PCNs issued in North Dorset 08/09 PCNs issued in Purbeck 08/09

On-St r eet On-St r eet


Car Par ks Car Par ks

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4. Challenges, Representations and Appeals:

4.1 TMA sets out the statutory process for drivers and vehicle keepers to make representations
against the issue of a PCN and to appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal in due course if initial
challenges and formal representations to the Council have not resulted in a satisfactory
conclusion. Legislation requires the Council to consider formal representations on statutory
grounds against the issue of a PCN, including mitigating circumstances.

4.2 Appeals Officers consider challenges and representations against PCNs according to
council guidelines. The Council does consider challenges at any time during the life of the PCN,
including those received before the issue of a Notice to Owner and those received after a
Charge Certificate has been served. If a challenge is received within 14 days from the issue of
the PCN the period for payment of a Penalty Charge at the discounted rate will be automatically
extended. All challenges and representations must be made in writing, either in person, by post,
fax or via email, and should include supporting documentary evidence where applicable.

Appeals/Representations in Dorset
by District Area 08/09

EDDC
NDDC
Pur beck
WDDC

Appeals North Dorset 08/09 Appeals Purbeck 08/09

On- St reet On-St r eet


Car Par ks Car Par ks

4.3 There is general misconception in the public mind that Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs)
are unfairly targeting drivers without good reason. Drivers also often feel aggrieved that CEOs
do not seem to accept their explanations and that they do not “take back” a ticket/PCN which
has already been issued. Unfortunately, this view is often reinforced by the media. The reality is
that CEOs are carrying out their statutory duties as required under TMA and they do not have
the discretion to “take back” a PCN. The discretion rests with the appeals officers who are
trained to consider appeals and make decisions after considering all aspects of a particular
case.

4.4 In 2008/09, 1512 PCNs were cancelled following an appeal, approx 10% of all PCNs issued.
14 % of cancellations were for statutory reasons (i.e. wrong location, incorrect or missing
signage or lines). 86 % were due to the exercise of Council Discretion on mitigating
circumstances or due to evidence being supplied, such as proof of loading or breakdown.

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5. Permitted Parking:

5.1 On Street Pay and Display:

In 2008/09, there were 2 Pay and Display Machines on street in Blandford: Market Place and
Sheep Market Hill (commissioned in January 2009) and 2 in Wareham: The Quay and St John’s
Hill/Church Green. Since then, the Council has installed 26 Pay and Display Machines on street
in Dorchester.

5.2 Permit Parking: The following permits have been issued.

Permit Parking 2007/08 2008/09 Explanatory Notes


Residents Permits are issued free of
5.2.1 Residents Permits 909 925 charge to residents who are Blue Badge
Holders.
Pensioners can purchase Visitors
5.2.2 Daily Visitors Vouchers 30,203 31,173
Vouchers at half price.

Currently, the Council does not operate


a Business Permit Scheme but special
waivers can be issued to allow
5.2.3 Waivers 393 322 tradesmen to park where parking is
restricted if they need access to their
vehicles and tools whilst working at an
adjacent property.

Health Permits are issued to Health


5.2.4 Health Permits 188 204 Workers so that they can park near their
patient’s home to carry out their duties.

5.3 Parking for Blue Badge Holders:

5.3.1 There are designated disabled parking bays on street in many towns and villages. In most
cases, there is no time limit for Badge Holders in Disabled Bays but a few disabled bays are
time restricted. Badge Holders must display their Blue Badge and the Time Clock set at the time
of arrival.

5.3.2 Blue Badge Holders can also park on waiting restrictions (marked by a single or double
yellow line) for a maximum of three hours. They are exempt from payment in on street pay and
display bays and residents bays where they can park without time limit unless there are signs
indicating otherwise.

5.3.3 In off-street car parks, the terms and conditions relating to Blue Badge Holders are stated
on the car park signs.

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6. Operational Statistics:

PCN Statistics 2007/08 2008/09 Explanatory Notes


Where parking is prohibited or restricted
6.1 Higher Rate PCNs issued 9 7391 such as on yellow lines, bus stops, taxi
ranks, disabled bays.
Where parking is permitted but
6.2 Lower Rate PCNs issued 14900 6451 controlled (e.g. in car parks or pay and
display bays on street).
6.3 Total PCNs issued 14909 13842
50% of full rate and is accepted within
14 days of PCN issue or when a
6.4 PCNs paid at discount rate 10644 9931
challenge has been received during the
same 14 day period.

PCNs paid after expiry of the discount


6.5 PCNs paid at full rate 851 765
period.
6.6 Total PCNs paid 11495 10695
PCNs still being progressed under the
6.7 Total PCNs unpaid 3421 3315
statutory procedure.

Where PCNs remain unpaid they are


registered as debts at Northampton
6.8 PCNs registered as Debts 906 931 County Court and eventually, warrants
may be issued to bailiffs who pursue the
debts on behalf of the Council.

Appeals/Representations Appeals include informal challenges and


6.9 2773 2988
received formal representations.
Where the Council has exercised
PCNs cancelled through the
discretion on mitigating circumstances
6.1O use of discretion or due to 1328 1294
or due to evidence being supplied, such
evidence being supplied
as proof of loading or breakdown etc.
Statutory reasons include wrong
PCNs cancelled for statutory
6.11 196 218 location, incorrect or missing signage or
reasons
lines, etc.
6.12 Total PCNs cancelled 1524 1512
Cases referred to the Traffic Penalty
6.13 PCNs going to Adjudication 9 9
Tribunal for an independent decision.
PCNs written off (untraceable Vehicles not registered at DVLA, foreign
6.14 559 257
keepers) drivers, etc.
Dorset County Council does not operate
vehicle clamping or removal but bailiffs
6.15 Vehicles clamped or removed 0 0
may do so to recover the debts on
behalf of the Council.

Dorset PCNs - Status 08/09 Dorset - Cancellation Reasons


08/09

%PCNs cancelled or
wr it t en of f

St at ut ory Gr ounds
%PCNs paid

Council
%PCNs wher e Discret ion/ Mit igat in
r ecovery is st ill being g Cir cumst ances
per sued

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7. Operational and Financial Information:

7.1 Although the majority of parking restrictions apply during week days, there are numerous
regulations requiring enforcement at night, at weekends and on Bank Holidays. The Dorset Civil
Enforcement Area stretches from Lyme Regis and Bridport in the West to Ferndown and West
Moors in the East, Sherborne and Shaftesbury in the North to Wareham and Swanage in the
Isle of Purbeck.

7.2 In 2008/09, the parking account did not break even mainly due to the cost of implementing
TMA. Due to the slight drop in the annual number of PCNs issued and the introduction of
differential penalty charges there has been in a reduction of £48,285 in PCN income compared
to 2007/08.

7.3 TMA was introduced on 30 March 2008 to deal with illegally parked cars more effectively.
Whilst previously all penalties attracted a charge £60 regardless of the severity of the
infringement, with TMA PCNs issued for contraventions such as parking on a double yellow line
which causes congestion or possible danger attract a higher charge of £70 (discounted to £35
on prompt payment) whereas a lesser contravention such as overstaying a parking time period
is at the lower charge of £50 (discounted to £25 on prompt payment). These differential penalty
charges are fairer that the previous uniform charge but they have resulted in a reduction of the
income needed to fund the enforcement.

Dorset County Council - CPE Dorset County Council - CPE


Incom e 2008/09 Expenditure 2008/09

Employees

Pay & Display Pr emises & Tr anspor t

PCNs
Misc Supplies &
Per mit s, Fees et c.
Ser vices
Int er nal Recharges

PCN Paym ents by District Area


08/09

EDDC
NDDC
Pur beck
WDDC

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7.4 Parking Account

Dorset County Council Parking Account 2008/09


2007/08 figures included for
comparison
Income Expenditure
2007/08 2008/09 2007/08 2008/09
Pay &
£58,881 £88,425 Employees £438,592 £436,906
Display
Premises &
Transport
PCNs £446,006 £397,721 £55,661 £55,480
Related
Expenses
Miscellaneous
Residents
£47,750 £47,355 Supplies & £60,439 £82,122
Permits
Services

Recharges
Visitors from other
£6,275 £5,195 £12,797 £29,802
Vouchers directorates
including
Dorset Direct
Waivers £7,815 £7,637
Fees &
£6,143 £4,140
Charges

Total £572,870 £550,473 Total £567,489 £604,310

-£5,381 £53,837
08/09 budget c/f
-£5,400 from 07/08
£48,437 08/09 deficit

8. Conclusion

Dorset County Council is committed to improving the quality of life for people in Dorset.
Management of parking places and enforcement of the parking regulations are essential tools to
control traffic congestion, promote road safety and provide for the different needs of residents,
retailers, shoppers and visitors. Enforcement is often seen as a revenue raiser by the public but
in reality, it is in place for the benefit of all road users. The Council aims to achieve its objectives
by providing a quality service without putting financial pressure on the public purse. Procedures
are regularly reviewed in order to achieve efficiency savings but the cost of implementing TMA
has had a detrimental effect on the parking account. The recent introduction of Pay and Display
on street in Dorchester will provide additional funding to meet the needs of the service and,
should there be any future surplus, it will be used to provide additional parking/traffic related
facilities for the County.

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