Parking tickets are one of motorists’ biggest pet hates – especially when they feel that they have parked legally. The cost of running a vehicle is expensive enough as it is, which is why so many people spend time looking for cheap car insurance quotes, and even invest in cars that will cost them less in road tax and congestion charges. So many will be angered to hear that across London there have been three hundred and fifty thousand illegally issued parking tickets from sixteen different councils whose ‘suspended parking’ signs were invalid.
The law states that in order for councils to display ‘suspended parking’ signs they must first clear the signs with the Department for Transport. Generally, local councils can find out what signs are allowed using a ‘book’ of designs which is provided to them by the Department of Transport, however suspended parking signs are not included, meaning that local councils have to get each notice cleared before displaying them. Due to the fact that many councils ignored this rule, their suspended parking signs were not legal, meaning that any parking fines issued to vehicles parked in the spaces were void.
A motoring solicitor from the law firm Caddick Davies, Neil Davies said: “From a legal perspective, councils are on very shaky ground, because the signage they used is effectively made up. They may be relying on the fact many people don’t challenge parking notices.” It has been argued that invalid penalty fixed notices, which charge £80 to each driver, have amassed a total of twenty three million pounds for local councils.
One motorist, Suzanne Campbell, won her case in 2010 when she appealed against a ticket issued to her by London’s Camden Council at a Parking and Traffic Appeals Service hearing after being fined for parking in a suspended parking bay. At the hearing, adjudicator Edward Houghton said: “In the absence of a compliant sign the vehicle was not in contravention and the appeal must be allowed. No doubt the council will give consideration to obtaining the Secretary of State’s authorisation.”
Since then many London councils applied for authorisation of their suspended parking signs, however a BBC investigation has revealed that there are still fourteen councils that still have no clearance.