Mike Greene defends Camden's parking enforcement policy
I would like to respond to Labour councillor Penny Abraham (H&H letters February 7) regarding the apparent increase in parking revenues in 2006/07 compared with the previous year. In particular she states there should be fewer parking tickets, not more!
I would like to respond to Labour councillor Penny Abraham (H&H letters February 7) regarding the apparent increase in parking revenues in 2006/07 compared with the previous year. In particular she states ''there should be fewer parking tickets, not more!''
Quite right... and there were indeed fewer tickets issued under the first year of our administration than either of the previous two when Labour was in charge: 20,000 fewer.
It is surprising as shadow executive member for environment that Cllr Abraham seems to have forgotten that the £4million 'increase' in revenue was almost entirely due to an accounting mistake under the previous Labour administration, which led to a massive under-reporting of revenue for 2005/06 - a year in which more tickets were handed out than any year before or since. That is why 2006/07 revenue looked higher than the previous year, even though fewer tickets were issued.
Additionally, the percentage of people actually paying the fines received has also improved for a number of reasons. For example, all parking attendants now have digital cameras, which provide better proof of a contravention and reduce the likelihood of disputes.
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We also introduced a new parking management system which means cases are progressed more swiftly.
The council does not enforce parking regulations to make money. Parking rules are there to make the roads safer, to protect scarce parking spaces for those who have a right to park there (such as residents, disabled drivers and shoppers who pay for Pay and Display), and reduce congestion and keep traffic flowing in what is one of the busiest and biggest boroughs in London.
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Money raised by parking goes straight back into improving services. Specific examples include a contribution to the major Kentish Town and Chalk Farm town centre improvements and new security devices at motorcycle bays to reduce thefts. Money is also spent on providing the freedom pass to pensioners, on home-to-school transport, on maintaining parking facilities and on highway improvement schemes.
As a council we are committed to offering a fair deal on parking. There is still work to be done, but over the past year and a half we have achieved a great deal that rarely receives acknowledgment, including:
A new mobile patrol unit to monitor suspended bays and release them back into use more quickly
Agreeing innovative solutions to suspended parking bay problems such as e-mail alerts to notify drivers about suspensions in particular areas
Giving permit holders seven days' grace before towing away their car if their permit has expired
Effectively ending all car clamping (disabled badge fraud and persistent offenders excepted)
Reducing towing by 60 per cent.
Trialling cash-free Chip and PIN meters to make life easier for drivers using pay and display bays
Piloting the introduction of parking permits for visitors south of Euston Road and extending permits for those visiting elderly or housebound residents across the borough
Publishing guides for drivers on how to avoid getting a ticket and how to understand the appeals system
If only Labour had a similar story to tell of any 18-month period during their 36 years in office!
Cllr Mike Greene
Executive Member, Environment, Camden Council