Press release

Government delivers on parking promises to help local shops

New measures will deliver a fairer deal for motorists and help boost the high street.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Parking sign.

Parking measures that put common sense back in the driving seat have been given the green-light today (6 March 2015) by Local Government and Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin

Under the new laws to help local shops, drivers will get a 10 minute grace period when parked in a bay. This will prevent fines for being just a few minutes late back to the vehicle – be it in a paid or free parking space.

And the use of CCTV ‘spy cars’ has been banned in the majority of circumstances ending the tyranny of automated fines landing on doorsteps and being issued in industrial volumes

The measures stop over-zealous parking enforcement which often forces people to shop in out-of-town centres or online and were approved in the last reading of parking reforms in the Deregulation Bill.

Other measures protecting drivers include new powers for parking adjudicators so they can hold councils to account to tackle parking problems such as poor signage at specific locations.

And a powerful new right enables residents and local firms to demand that their council reviews parking in their area, including the charges and use of yellow lines.

There will also be tougher rules against heavy-handed action by bailiffs and an end to fines at out-of-order parking meters when there is no alternative way to pay. Guidance will also reinforce that councils cannot use parking to make a profit.

Councils were also asked to volunteer to trial a new pilot that allows motorists challenging a parking ticket to benefit from a 25% discount on the fine if they lose the appeal. Currently drivers are only offered a discount on early payment before challenging a ticket.

The parking measures are a victory for drivers and one of a number of initiatives introduced by the government to support high streets and give local shops a fairer deal.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:

We are ending the war on drivers who simply want to go about their daily business. For too long parking rules have made law-abiding motorists feel like criminals, and caused enormous damage to shops and businesses.

Over-zealous parking enforcement undermines our town centres and costs councils more in the long-term. Our measures not only bring big benefits for high streets, motorists and local authorities - they put common sense back into parking.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

Helping local businesses thrive is a key part of our long-term economic plan. These measures will deliver a fairer deal for motorists and help boost the high street by ensuring that parking enforcement is proportionate, while also protecting school children and keeping key routes and bus lanes clear.

Further information

The cross-government Deregulation Bill passed its Third Reading in the House of Lords on Wednesday 4 March 2015 and Royal Assent of the Bill is expected shortly.

Parking measures instigated by the Department for Communities and Local Government that passed the Third Reading include a ban on the use of ‘CCTV’ for issuing automated fines except in those no-parking areas around schools, bus stops, bus lanes and red routes. These will be commenced after Royal Assent, and come into force in April; the draft secondary legislation is being published today.

The Department for Communities and Local Government is also laying a statutory instrument granting ‘10 minute parking grace periods’. This applies to paid for or free parking spaces both on-street and off-street (in council owned car parks and similar). This has been signed by Eric Pickles and will come into force later this month.

The Department for Transport is publishing revised statutory guidance that ensures that:

  • drivers are not fined for parking at out-of-order parking meters
  • bailiffs do not use overly aggressive action
  • reinforces that using parking to generate profit is prohibited
  • gives parking adjudicators stronger powers to hold councils to account so they can seek to address parking problems
  • parking policies support local shops

The Department for Communities and Local Government is publishing new statutory guidance that ensures local residents and firms can petition to initiate a formal review of parking policies in their area from the council, with councillors then voting on the action to be taken.

The Department for Transport has launched a call for councils to trial a pilot scheme allowing a 25% discount on a fine for drivers losing an appeal.

See Local authority income from sales, fees and charges on parking charges, 2013 to 2014 (PDF, 604KB, 4 pages) .

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Published 6 March 2015
Last updated 6 March 2015 + show all updates
  1. Added 'Local authority income from sales, fees and charges on parking charges, 2013 to 2014' PDF.
  2. First published.