The Local Government Minister Eric Pickles has announced that the government will make it illegal for local councils and parking ticket enforces to use CCTV cameras to help them catch and enforce parking tickets. The ban will not only include cameras mounted on walls and above parking spaces, but will also include so-called CCTV spy cars. Drivers will be encouraged to challenge parking tickets, too, with the proposed introduction of a 25% reduction for those that challenge a fine and fail in that challenge.
The government has been looking into ways in which it can bring people back into town centres, especially away from large shopping centres and shopping villages that appear outside of towns. They want to encourage high street shopping in a bid to try and breathe life back into local communities. Previous ideas have included making it legal to park on double yellow lines for a few minutes while running in to collect shopping.
Parking enforcement companies, and ticketing companies have been accused of over-zealous enforcement and Local Government Minister Eric Pickles has said that this has led many more people to shop online or to head out of town in order to complete even short and simple shopping trips. He hopes that these new changes, along with a series of other parking law changes, will help to arrest the decline in high street shopping.
Orwellian spy cars, which are cars equipped with CCTV that patrol double yellow lines and other areas where parking is prohibited, will also feature in the ban. Mr Pickles singled out CCTV cars by saying that they can often be seen lurking on street corners, raking in cash for councils that have previously been warned that parking tickets should not be used as a means of generating income.
Another proposed change is being introduced in a bid to encourage more people to challenge tickets. Currently, if a driver pays within a one or two week time limit, they are afforded a 50% reduction and this discourages many people from questioning the validity of a ticket. Under new proposals, if a person challenges a ticket and the challenge ultimately fails, they may still receive a 25% reduction.