Edinburgh tops table for tearing up parking tickets

A ticket is issued on Chambers Street
A ticket is issued on Chambers Street
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THE Capital is officially the worst place in Scotland for issuing invalid parking tickets, with a higher percentage of tickets cancelled than in any other city.

Last week, the Evening News revealed that 15 per cent of tickets issued in the Capital over the past two years were later cancelled on appeal, a total of 59,000 between 2010-2012.

The news led to calls for a review of the system – and these have been strengthened by figures which show Edinburgh cancels a higher proportion of its tickets than anywhere else in the country.

However, the council has insisted the figures do not show any evidence of a problem, and admitted they cancelled a high number of tickets if the driver had made a “genuine error” such as incorrectly displaying a parking permit.

Figures gathered from other local authorities now show rates of ticket cancellation in Edinburgh stand 6 per cent higher than in Aberdeen, which at 9 per cent has the second-highest rate.

Glasgow City Council had the lowest percentage of cancelled parking tickets, with only 4 per cent ruled invalid over the two-year period, despite having issued the second-highest number of tickets overall. A total of 267,107 parking tickets were issued in Scotland’s largest city between 2010 and 2012 – nearly 121,000 fewer than were issued in Edinburgh.

Jeremy Balfour, the leader of the council’s Conservative group, is now calling for a review of the parking 
system in Edinburgh.

He told the Evening News: “It is 
concerning that there are so many tickets wrongly given out. I do think, in light of these figures, that there does need to be a review of the whole system.

“The council needs to look into why this is happening, be it lack of training for parking attendants or lack of proper guidance for motorists. Once this has been established and dealt with they can then give confidence to the people of the city that this is a valid and fair system.”

Parking wardens, operated by private company NSL, work in the Capital 24 hours a day. It emerged on Friday that there are more parking wardens employed in Edinburgh than anywhere else outside London.

Robert Oxley, campaign manager of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “Councils need to stop treating hard-pressed and overtaxed motorists as cash cows and start working harder to control spending and deliver a better deal for taxpayers.”

A spokeswoman for Edinburgh City Council said: “One of the key performance indicators for NSL specified in their contract from us is that no more than 0.65 per cent of tickets issued should have to be cancelled ‘due to parking attendant error’.

“In fact, only 0.53 per cent of tickets issued are cancelled for this reason. If NSL exceeded the 0.65 per cent target, they would incur a financial penalty from us.”

Transport leader Councillor Lesley Hinds added: “We cancel a number of tickets each year, in the first instance if a driver has made a genuine error, for example. It is far more common for a ticket to be quashed once evidence is produced to show that the driver has failed to clearlydisplay their blue badge [in] 7.5 per cent [of instances], residents’ permit – 6.3 per cent, or parking voucher – 20.5 per cent.”