Edinburgh drivers who park on yellow lines or in public bays instead of paying for tickets could now be towed or clamped
Persistent offenders flouting parking rules could receive a stricter punishment.
Growing numbers of motorists are choosing to park on yellow lines and public bays at the risk of receiving a ticket rather than pay for parking in Edinburgh.
Inconsiderate motorists are causing problems for buses and other drivers by accepting the £30 fine, rather than pay for a day’s worth of parking, which in some cases is more expensive.
Now an Edinburgh City Council crackdown will see vehicles towed away or clamped to halt persistent offenders flouting parking rules.
Edinburgh City Council’s transport and environment committee has approved proposals for vehicles with ten or more unpaid parking tickets over a three-month period to be clamped – while any cars which have been subject to 15 parking tickets, even if they have been paid, face being towed away. The persistent offenders will also lose their grace periods often used by enforcement officers at the start of the day on some single yellow lines and in public parking bays.
The tough stance comes after a feeling of frustration amongst some councillors that the Scottish Government will not allow councils to increase the £30 penalty fee – while in some parts of the city centre it is the same cost, or if not cheaper, to pay the £30 fine rather than pay for a day’s worth of parking.
If cars are towed away, it currently costs motorists £150 for the vehicle to be released plus the penalty fee. Some Scottish local authorities also charge a daily fee for “storage”. Currently, only untaxed vehicles are regularly clamped across Scotland, carried out by officials from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.
Green Cllr Chas Booth said: “Many vehicle owners drive and park responsibly so they get angry at those drivers who seem to treat parking fines as little more than a parking charge and who regularly flout double yellow lines.
“The council needs to be much more assertive in clamping down, quite literally, on those who break the rules regularly. We need rapid response when residents highlight unsafe or thoughtless parking and we need the Scottish Government to give greater freedom to councils to increase fines so they are a real deterrent.”
He added: “Some people regard the price of getting a ticket as the price of parking in the city centre. I think we need to do what we can.
“Obviously we have a problem because the Scottish Government won’t allow us to increase the price of a ticket. What we can do within our powers is we can uplift some of these vehicles. Most of the drivers are terrified of their vehicle being uplifted – so let’s clamp down on this.”
In the last year, a total of 1,505 vehicles were issued with ten or more fines, which have been paid – while over the same time period, 200 vehicles have tallied up at least ten unpaid tickets.
Transport and environment convener, Cllr Lesley Macinnes said: “We are all aware that it’s a tiny minority of persistently inconsiderate drivers who will cause an enormous of inconvenience and upset. We are finding solutions where we can, within the legislative framework, that allow us to take definitive action against persistent offenders.
“I wish that those drivers could understand the significant and really negative impact they have on vulnerable groups such as the elderly, those with mobility problems, children and those going about their daily business. This kind of selfish behaviour by a small minority is at the expense of others, despite the fact they clearly know that it’s breaking the rules. Not only does it restrict parking places from those who have purchased tickets, but can cause access issues for other road users.”