Parking in Edinburgh: It's staying cheaper to accept a fine than pay the fee in some parts of city

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Transport convener Scott Arthur says a Scottish Government snub means it will remain cheaper for motorists to accept a fine than pay the parking fee in some parts of Edinburgh.

And he accused the government of a “massive slap in the face” to law-abiding motorists after it refused his call for increased fines and more enforcement powers for the council.

Councillor Arthur wrote to Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth last month, urging new powers for councils in line with changes in England and Wales. These include different levels of fine to reflect the seriousness of the offence and higher penalties for persistent offenders. And he told Ms Gilruth there was cross-party support on the city council for higher fines to encourage better compliance, given that fine levels had not been increased since 1998.

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The Scottish Government recently published its response to a consultation on parking fines. Seventy per cent of those who took part agreed that fixed penalty notices should be increased. But the government said: “Although these results point towards a desired increase, it is Transport Scotland’s view that this is not an appropriate time to introduce due to the current cost of living crisis.”

Now a Transport Scotland official has replied to Cllr Arthur, referring to the consultation response, but saying the issue of fine levels was being kept “under close review”. She added that increased powers for councils would require primary legislation, but there were no plans for a further Transport Act.

Cllr Arthur said: “The cost of parking fines in Scotland has not increased for two decades. It’s now cheaper to accept a fine in some parts of Edinburgh than pay to legally park a vehicle. On a daily basis the council receives complaints about anti-social parking, some of which is delaying buses and the emergency services.

“The Scottish Government consultation found that 70 per cent of ordinary Scots want the level of fines to increase to better reflect the impact of anti-social parking. It is therefore disappointing to see that the SNP/Green Government is using the ‘cost of living crisis’ as an excuse for not increasing fines for illegal parking.

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“This is incomprehensible and a massive slap in the face to law-abiding motorists, and the many other victims of anti-social parking. I view the Scottish Government as a valued partner in our ambition to transform transport in Edinburgh within the context of the climate emergency, so I am particularly disappointed by this decision.

“Rather than protecting law-breaking motorists from the cost of living crisis, the SNP/Green Government need to think more about the rest of us and how it can help us cut congestion in Edinburgh.”