Hillingdon Council’s cabinet has authorised increasing parking fines in the borough after it was found that the number of fines issues had risen by 29 per cent. The cabinet concluded that the increase in fines being passed out showed that lower penalty tariffs were an ineffective deterrent and therefore an increase might lower the amount of violations.
Fines work on a band structure with Band A carrying heftier penalties than Band B which Hillingdon is currently on. Within the bands, there are higher and lower tariffs with the current top charge for motorists breaking the rules £110 which would be raised to £130 under the new proposal.
The lower level fine would also increase by £20 from £60 to £80. Hillingdon has experienced considerable growth in the number of Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) issued each year for the past few years, with a rise of 29 per cent observed between 2018/19 and 2021/22 which is 8 per cent higher than the average across the other London boroughs.
In the council’s report it says: “Whilst part of this increase may be due to improved detection by the enforcement team, it is likely that a large element is attributable to the decreased deterrent effect of the value of the PCN which has not increased since 2011.”
The council issued a consultation of residents about the decision to increase the parking charges held between April 14 and June 5. There were 656 respondents to the consultation which is considered to be low as the council issues, on average, 3.75m pay & display tickets per annum.
The consultation returned an overwhelming rejection of the plan with 72 per cent of people surveyed disagreeing or strongly disagreeing with the proposed change from Band B to Band A. There were also 419 comments left by people partaking in the consultation.
Some of the common themes in these comments were:
- The proposals were a money grab/cash cow by the council
- More enforcement officers are needed to enforce the parking restrictions
- The higher PCN fee would not deter people from parking illegally
- The proposals should take into account the current cost of living crisis and how it would affect people
- The number of parking spaces and car parks should be increased
- More use of CCTV to enforce against people parking illegally
- Signage was not clear and should be reviewed
- The proposed extension of the ULEZ would also cost more
Despite the overwhelmingly negative response, the council says it still believes the scheme has merit with the cabinet authorising the next steps in the process. The Council does not have the power to independently set the parking Penalty Charge Notice amounts or to make the change from Band B to Band A.
Therefore it will have to gain approval from the London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, the Mayor of London’s Office and the Secretary of State’s Office.