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Council plan to increase the cost of parking fines in Harrow to clamp down on ‘inconsiderate drivers’

Harrow Council plans to crack down on inconsiderate drivers parking across people’s driveways by raising the price of fines across the borough by £20. The council believe increasing the penalties will be an effective deterrent as residents complain their driveways are being blocked by illegal parking.

The council issues Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) when a driver breaches a traffic order, such as illegal parking or driving in a bus lane. Currently, PCNs in Harrow fall under ‘Band B’, meaning drivers are fined between £60 and £110 depending on the severity of the offence.

Residents are now being asked to have their say on the plans to move the PCNs into ‘Band A’, which will see costs rise by £20 – from £60 to £80 for lower scale offences, and from £110 to £130 for more serious offences. The council claim this will be an “effective and increased deterrent” and will “reduce the number of incidents of inconsiderate parking”.

At a recent full council meeting (September 29), council leader Cllr Paul Osborn said: “My inbox is full of people asking us to do more enforcement. They’re saying that they can’t park on their road because someone has parked illegally, they can’t park on their driveway because someone parked in front of it. When they try to walk they find a car blocking the road and if they’re in a wheelchair they can’t get through the pavement.”

He added: “There are lots and lots of demands across the borough for greater enforcement. Where people are breaking the law, we think we need to crack down on it. We think where people are doing things wrong they need to be taken to task and given a ticket.”

Over the past seven years, parking enforcement measures haven’t seen any significant reduction in the number of PCNs being issued, according to the council. Since 2020/21, the number of higher tariff fines issued has grown by 68 per cent – from 41,240 to 69,427 in 2022/23.

The council operates 68 Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) across the borough, as well as outside 80 school sites. Vehicles parked illegally outside schools receive the largest number of complaints. Enforcement measures consist of 48 officers deployed on foot, in cars, and on mopeds, plus a network of 60 CCTV cameras.

Last year, Harrow Council pledged to increase the amount of income generated from PCNs by 30 per cent. Leader of Harrow Labour, Cllr David Perry, said the current figures show the council is roughly £1.95 million behind that target. He added: “That’s nearly 50,000 more tickets to be issued on the back of motorists and residents of Harrow.”

Cllr Perry queried what mitigation measures would be put in place to achieve what he called an “ambitious target” in order to balance the books. Cllr Osborn said the council’s aim is to bring the budget “in on balance” at the end of the financial year but acknowledged that the FPN target is unlikely to be achieved.

The survey will run until November 12, however, it hinges on the outcome of a parallel consultation being carried out by London Councils – a cross-party organisation that represents London’s 32 borough councils.

It is deciding whether to scrap ‘Band B’ PCNs altogether which, if successful, will mean Harrow’s plan is terminated.