The AA launches ‘Caught in a Trap’ campaign ahead of Christmas
Motoring organisation wants parking infringements to be tackled more lightly
The UK Government is being urged to back motorists in the fight against “rampant” ticketing for parking and bus lane violations.
The AA has stepped in and launched its ‘Caught in a Trap’ campaign, asking for enforcement to concentrate on deterring offends instead of cashing in by way of fines.
The motoring association is urging private parking firms and councils to take a smoother approach when dealing with parking charges and for offenders who’ve been caught for the first time using a bus lane or yellow box junction to be spared a fine and instead be handed a warning.
The AA has sent a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport suggesting that offenders who appeal a penalty charge notice and win should be compensated, whilst enforcement in areas with especially high offence rates should be suspended and the scheme be improved upon.
As the run-up to Christmas gets busier and busier, the AA is warning shoppers that they could be penalized for carelessly breaking the rules when it comes to parking and has asked for a more reasonable way of dealing with “honest mistakes” after motorists were treated like “lambs to the slaughter” during the busy months of summer.
The AA says that evidence gathered from Freedom of Information has shown that many of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK scooped in millions of pounds from penalty charge notices in only a matter of months.
According to data, 50 councils up and down the country raised over £16 million in fines between the months of July to September alone.
A huge difference in figures between councils showed how each one dealt with infringements, as some brought in millions of pounds whilst others collected less than £5,000 yet they had similar visitor numbers.
Around 5.1million tourists visit Stratford on Avon each year and during the summer they made only £2,169 from parking fines, whereas Edinburgh City Council raked in £2,338,050 during the summer months but only welcome around 4m visitors a year.
“Here lie the absolute fundamentals of our campaign: the need to restore the balance between enforcement and deterrence and the need for targeted fines that direct driver behaviour – not punish every single little mistake because it is a nice little earner for councils and private companies,” said AA president Edmund King.
A number of councils across the country are providing shoppers with free parking periods during the run-up to Christmas, however the AA fears that having raked in so much during the summer season, some councils and private parking firms might do the same over the Christmas period.
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