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30% of Shropshire parking fines overturned

Telford | News | Published:

Nearly 30% of challenged parking fines were overturned in Shropshire last year, it has been revealed.

Figures released following a Freedom of Information request showed the likelihood of getting off a parking fine depended on which area of the country drivers were handed their ticket.

Some councils were found approving as few as one in 10 challenges while others accepted nearly every appeal.

Shropshire sits on par with the national average with about a third of initial driver challenges to on-street parking fines being successful.

Between January and October last year, 1,828 challenges were made to the council, which accepted a total of 545 – at 29.81%.

Frances Darling, trading standards and licensing operations manager with the local authority, said: "If all motorists complied with the parking restrictions, Shropshire's highways would be less congested and would benefit all users.

"We directly employ and manage a team of civil enforcement officers who work to very strict guidelines when issuing penalty charge notices - more commonly known as parking tickets.

"Parking enforcement benefits everyone as it reduces congestion on Shropshire's roads and in our town centresand keeps Shropshire moving."

The statistics relate to challenges against on-street parking fines made to local authorities in England and show a wide variation between councils.

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Staffordshire County Council, which covers areas such as Loggerheads, Ashley and Gnosall, accepted challenges at a rate of around one in 10 – 10.4%.

It received a total of 4,606 challenges and but only accepted only 478. Meanwhile, Runnymede, in Surrey, accepted just nine per cent of appeals while Basingstoke and Deane, in Hampshire, just 30 miles away, approved 95%.

Figures haven't been made available for Telford as the borough's council is not responsible for civil parking enforcement in the area, which is instead managed by the police.

Guy Anker, managing editor at MoneySavingExpert.com, said it was a common problem for drivers all over the country.

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He said: "We hear so many stories from motorists who are victims of overzealous parking wardens.

"Often the real problem is really poor, terrible signing. People are often completely bamboozled, can I park here or can I not?"

Mr Anker said that after having a challenge rejected by the council, around 50% of drivers who made an appeal to the independent Traffic Penalty Tribunal were successful.

The FOI request asked for the number of initial challenges to on-street parking fines they received from drivers between January and October 2016, and how many of those the council had deemed successful.

To ensure a fair comparison, the survey only covered the first challenge made by the driver, and not any further action that was taken.

The 98 councils that responded with sufficient data referred to the figures in different ways, which included how an "informal challenge" or "initial appeal" were recorded.

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