Nuisance Parking Offences
Guidance on Section 3 to 5 - Nuisance Parking
Note: For the purpose of this guidance, the term 'nuisance parking' covers only those vehicles involved in the offences described in Sections 3 and 4 and is not intended to cover other parking infringements.
Why are these changes being introduced?
Some garages and businesses place cars for sale, for an extended period, on the street. This can cause a significant nuisance to local residents and takes up valuable car parking spaces. The same is true with vehicles that are repaired on the street, which can also look unsightly, can lead to damage of the local environment (for example when oil is spilled or leaked) and may also present a danger to passers by.
Who are the new offences targeted at?
The offence of selling vehicles on the road is intended to target those people who run a business selling motor vehicles and use the road as a mock showroom. This behaviour is unfair to local residents who are thereby deprived of using the road themselves to park vehicles and go about their daily lives. It is not intended to target individual private sellers of single vehicles, but the nuisance that is caused by the presence of numbers of vehicles being offered for sale by the same person or business. This is why the offence may only be committed where there are two or more vehicles being offered for sale. It is recognised that a private individual may at one time or another have more than one car to sell and decide to offer them by parking them close together on a road, but it is anticipated that this will only happen on rare occasions.
The offence of repairing a vehicle is also aimed primarily at those that act irresponsibly as part of a business and which are attempting to use the road as a mock workshop. It is not intended to target private individuals who are carrying out minor work to their vehicles (unless the repairs cause annoyance to persons in the vicinity), or those who carry out necessary work to vehicles by the side of the road in order to get them moving again after a breakdown or accident (such as breakdown organisations and mobile mechanics), provided the work is completed within 72 hours.
Note: These are new national offences and as such, many businesses and residents will not be aware of the provisions. Local authorities are encouraged to communicate the details of the offences within their areas before taking any enforcement action.
Fixed penalty notices
The Act also provides, in sections 6 to 9, for fixed penalties for these new offences. These sections will be brought into force by order of the Secretary of State. These provisions are similar to a number other provisions on fixed penalties in the Act, and it is intended to bring all these into force at the same time. In the meantime, offences under sections 3 and 4 will need to be prosecuted in the usual way through the courts.
This part of the guidance gives a commentary on each section and sub section.
Section 3 - Exposing vehicles for sale on a road
Section 3 (1) sets out the particulars of the offence:
A person commits an offence if:
a) he leaves two or more motor vehicles parked within 500m of each other on a road or roads where they are exposed or advertised for sale, or
b) he causes two or more vehicles so to be left.
Section 3 (2) sets out the defence:
A person is not to be convicted of an offence under subsection (1) if he proves to the satisfaction of the court that he was not acting for the purposes of a business of selling motor vehicles.
Section 3 (3) sets out the penalty:
A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) is liable on summary conviction to a fine not extending level 4 (£2,500) on the standard scale.
Section 3 (4) sets out the definitions of 'motor vehicle' and 'road' used in Section 3:
The definition of "road" is defined in section 142 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984:
'any length of highway or of any other road to which the public has access.'
Whether a piece of land is a road or not is a matter of fact. The main feature of a road is that the general public has a right to use it as a means of getting from A to B. The definition includes all highways (all land to which the public has a right to pass along for the purpose of legitimate travelling and includes both the carriageway and the footpath) and also access roads through estates that are owned by organisations such as Housing Associations or by the residents who live there. A car park for example would not normally come within the definition of a road as its function is to enable people to leave their vehicles.
The definition of 'motor vehicle' is the same as used in the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978:
'a mechanically propelled vehicle intended or adapted for use on roads, whether or not it is a fit state for such use, and includes any trailer intended or adapted for use as an attachment to such a vehicle, any chassis or body, with or without wheels, appearing to have formed part of such a vehicle or trailer and anything attached to such a vehicle or trailer '
This definition covers cars, motorbikes, the chassis of a car or motorbike, a trailer and a caravan.
Section 4 - Repairing vehicles on a road
Section 4 (1) sets out the offence:
A person who carries out restricted works on a motor vehicle on a road is guilty of an offence.
Section 4 (2) defines the term 'restricted works' used in subsection (1):
"restricted works" -
'works for the repair, maintenance, servicing, improvement or dismantling of a motor vehicle or any part of or accessory to a motor vehicle'
'works for the installation, replacement or renewal of any such part or accessory.'
Section 4 (3) sets out the circumstances in which a person is not to be convicted of an offence:
A person is not to be convicted of an offence under section 4 in relation to any works if he proves to the satisfaction of the court that the works were not carried out: c) in the course of, or for the purpose of, a business of carrying out restricted works; or
d) for gain or reward.
Section 4 (4) sets out circumstances in which the defence set out in subsection (3) does not apply:
The defence does not apply where the carrying out of works gives reasonable cause for annoyance to persons in the vicinity.
There is no legal definition of 'reasonable cause for annoyance' and interpretation of this provision will be for the courts. However, the concept of 'reasonableness' is one that will be familiar to local authorities.
Section 4 (5) sets out an additional defence, both elements of which must be demonstrated:
A person is not to be convicted of an offence under section 4 in relation to any works if he proves to the satisfaction of the court that the works carried out were works of repair which:
e) arose from an accident or breakdown in circumstances where repairs on the spot or elsewhere on the road were necessary; and
f) were carried out within 72 hours of the accident or breakdown or were within that period authorised to be carried out at a later time by the local authority for the area.
Section 4 (6) sets out the penalty:
A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 (£2,500) on the standard scale.
Section 4 (7) sets out the definitions of 'motor vehicle', 'road' and 'local authority' used in Section 4:
'motor vehicle' and 'road'- have the same definitions as used in section 3 (4) - see above at paragraphs 17-20.
Local Authorities can under this section authorise repairs to go on outside the initial 72-hour period. The definition of 'local authority' is as defined in section 9 as:
(a) a district council in England;
(b) a county council in England for an area for which there is no district council;
(c) a London borough council
(d) the Common Council of the City of London
(e) the Council of the Isles of Scilly;
(f) a county or county borough council in Wales