Clause 124

Part of Local Transport Bill [ Lords ] – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 8th May 2008.

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Photo of Rosie Winterton Rosie Winterton Minister of State (Regional Affairs) (Yorkshire and the Humber), Minister of State (Department for Transport) 4:30 pm, 8th May 2008

The Government’s policy is to encourage local authorities to take over from the police service the enforcement of parking restrictions. When a local authority does that, police resources are released for more serious matters. It means that a single body, the local authority, is responsible not only for developing parking policies, but for enforcing them. The parking components of part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 came into force on 31 March 2008.

It has come to light that the definition of “local authority” in the Traffic Management Act, read with other provisions of that Act, means that shire district councils may not be able to make full use of the new enforcement powers in their off-street car parks and in relation to any free, on-street parking that they authorise. That anomaly has no impact on enforcement by London boroughs, unitary authorities or metropolitan district councils, nor does it affect the enforcement of yellow bands or pay and display restrictions.

The Department considers that parking attendants appointed before 31 March, under the provisions of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, are unaffected by the anomaly, so district councils that received parking enforcement powers before 31 March 2008 will have civil enforcement officers they can use for enforcement in off-street car parks and any free on-street parking.

It is important that local authorities have proper parking enforcement powers. New clause 13 seeks to make it clear in the legislation that a shire district council has the power to appoint the civil enforcement officer who would serve the penalty charge notice to a motorist who is parked in contravention of the parking regulations in a local authority owned off-street car park.

Amendment No. 291 seeks to bring those amendments to the 2004 Act into force automatically two months after Royal Assent, rather than by a commencement order, so that the anomaly can be rectified as quickly as possible. Amendment No. 292 amends the long title of the Bill to reflect the subject matter of new clause 13.