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Legal guide to UK motoring, sections for law enforcement, Driver licensing, learner and new drivers, buying and selling, speeding fines, owning a vehicle, wheel clamping, traffic information.
Transport - Seventh Report
INTRODUCTION 
ENFORCEMENTLOADING AND UNLOADING
 Police inaction
Civil parking enforcement
Two systems of parking enforcement
Advantages of a single decriminalised enforcement system
 Definitions
Provision of loading capacity
STATUTORY GUIDANCEPARKING STRATEGIES
 The advantages of specific guidance
The need for revised guidance
 Parking as a traffic management tool
Guidance for local transport planning
Good practice guidance on parking strategies
TRANSPARENCYPARKING ACCESSIBILITY
 Publication of annual statistics
Parking as an income generator for local authorities
Enforcement contracts and incentives
Scrutiny of local authority parking operations
 Pavement parking
Road safety
’Blue Badge’ scheme
Parking space: capacity and demand
Planning Policy Guidance
REPRESENTATIONS PUBLICITY AND CONSULTATION
 Timeframes
Grounds for considering representations
Fourteen day discount
Professional service, costs, compensation
 Publicity
Consultation, consent, engagement
APPEALS TO THE PARKING ADJUDICATORS TECHNOLOGY AND DATABASES
 Independence of the adjudicators and quality of service
Lack of awareness of the right to appeal
Powers of the adjudicators
Investigating maladministration
The importance of developing the adjudication service
 Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) register
Continuous vehicle registration
Access to DVLA data
New technologies for parking
Real time information
Technology for enforcement
Technology for processing tickets
PROPORTIONALITY CONCLUSION
 Police inactio
Civil parking enforcement
Two systems of parking enforcement
Advantages of a single decriminalised enforcement system
REPORTS FROM THE TRANSPORT COMMITTEE SINCE 2005
STAFF
LIST OF WRITTEN EVIDENCE
 Training and recruitment
’On-street discretion’

ANNEX - VISIT NOTE
TRAFFIC REGULATION ORDERSFORMAL MINUTES
 Training and recruitment
’On-street discretion’
WITNESSES

10 LOADING AND UNLOADING


219. Loading is a common cause of dispute in parking enforcement: 7 per cent of the challenges reaching the National Parking Adjudication Service for England and Wales in 2004 concerned parking or loading or unloading in streets where restrictions are in force on theses activities. A further 1 per cent of challenges were for parking in a loading bay during restricted hours (without undertaking loading or unloading duties). 5.6 per cent of the appeals received by the London Parking and Traffic Appeal Service between 2004-2005 concerned alleged loading contraventions.

220. It appears that, following the introduction of civil parking enforcement, the number of parking tickets issued to freight and haulage vehicles has increased. For example, the Association of International Courier and Express Services reported that the level of Penalty Charge Notices received by its members had more than doubled between 2002 and 2004. The Association believes that this is not due to any significant change in the parking habits of its members. It may reflect a higher level of enforcement activity on the part of local authority parking attendants.

The economic impact of enforcing parking regulations

221. The Freight Transport Association told us that the economic implications of the high number of parking Penalty Charge Notices received can be significant for some companies:

In London the situation is now critical for commercial vehicle operators as they are shouldering costs upward of £50 million not only for the actual price of the fine, but also the huge administrative burden in checking Penalty Charge Notices and appealing those which are felt to be inappropriate or wrongly issued. 222. The Association of International Courier and Express Services estimated that in 2004, parking penalty charges cost the industry £1,484,400. The Brewery Logistics Association put the cost of parking penalty charges to its members from one London borough alone at £638,000 a year. These figures need to be placed in context however. In 2001 the express industry claimed a turnover of £544 million.

223. The Freight Transport Association acknowledged the dilemma facing the haulage industry in relation to parking policy and enforcement. Good parking enforcement supports smooth flowing traffic on the network. This benefits business. Indeed, enforcement only disadvantages business financially when commercial drivers receive Penalty Charge Notices. The Freight Transport Association stated:

It is vital for the provision of our service that road transport around London is as effective as possible - consequently we fully support the efforts of parking enforcement officials to keep arterial and strategic routes free of traffic impeding parked vehicles. However we do not believe that the massive increase in fines we are facing reflects such offences. There appears to be a need to increase understanding on the part of the industry of the loading restrictions in place and how they will be enforced; and for local authorities to give realistic consideration to the capacity required on the street for vehicles loading and unloading.

DEFINITIONS

224. Several witnesses commented on the problems created in parking enforcement by the lack of an exact and universally agreed definition about what constitutes ’loading’ and ’unloading’. For the past fifty years the courts have been involved in determining what exemptions apply and the precise nature of the activity covered by the term ’loading’. Wilkinson’s Road Traffic Offences lists at length the variety of court cases which have examined the detail of the term. The Freight Transport Association has called for a clear statutory definition:

Any guidance issued to local authorities must contain a clear definition of loading and unloading - that it is not just the act of actually taking goods in and out of the back of a lorry. Lorries and vans may appear to be just parked up, when in fact the driver is more than likely completing paperwork, checking the delivery/pick-up or installing the item for the customer. 225. Given the longstanding and pervasive confusion, it is surprising that the Minister told us that the Department for Transport had decided not to undertake a consultation on the definition of loading in developing the new guidance. In the absence of strong Government leadership on this issue, various agencies and organisations have taken it upon themselves to develop voluntary codes of practice to guide loading and unloading activities. The most recent, designed specifically for loading and unloading in London, was published during the course of our inquiry.

226. Consultation is important on this issue because the delivery industry appears to feel victimised and has raised criticisms of loading difficulties in city centres. Consultation with residents, employers and local authorities should help the Department to work towards developing a workable and acceptable definition of these terms on the basis of consensus. Once statutory guidance on loading and unloading policies is agreed, this should be communicated effectively to road users. Drivers of delivery vehicles may need to adapt their behaviour in light of strengthened enforcement if they are to avoid significant penalty charges.

227. In addition, a universally accepted definition of loading should provide the basis for greater consistency in how parking restrictions are enforced. For example, industry groups criticised the variation in how local authorities implemented the ’observation period rule’. ’Observation’ is intended to reveal whether a vehicle is being attended, and whether loading or unloading activity is actually taking place.

228. Within London, the observation period varies significantly between councils, from zero in Barnet to 20 minutes in Camden, Richmond and Westminster. Standardisation of the ’observation period’ would assist the drive towards transparency in the parking rules generally; and in the attainment of both higher rates of compliance with the regulations and less time-consuming disputes.

229. There is a pressing need to clarify the rules surrounding loading issues in the forthcoming statutory guidance. The Minister told us that the Department for Transport had decided not to undertake a consultation on the definition of loading in developing the new guidance on parking. There are currently no universally accepted definitions of ’loading’ and ’unloading’ however, and such definitions are required. The Department should therefore reverse its position and take the lead on clearing up the confusion through consultation with the haulage industry, police, residents, and local authorities. That definition must elucidate precisely what activities are covered. Once arrived at it should be widely publicised in the Department’s guidance and by local authorities, and applied consistently across the country. Clearer guidance on a standardised ’observation period’ (used by parking attendants to confirm loading and unloading activity) would also be helpful.

Provision of loading capacity

230. Sections of the business community appeared to attempt to justify illegal parking by criticising the availability of loading sites in urban areas. The Association of International Courier and Express Services told us:
When offences do occur it is usually because there is simply too little (or no) space allocated in a street for loading and unloading to take place… There is simply too little loading and unloading space provided leading to the rules being broken through necessity not choice. This is primarily a central London issue. The Freight Transport Association backed this view:
Commercial vehicles could be considered an easy target… but there seems to be a lack of understanding as to why these vehicles have no choice but to stop, load and unload often directly outside the customers’ premises.
Lack of kerbside space for loading activity is not a valid excuse for illegal and dangerous parking.
231. Owing to a combination of planning and traffic management decisions however some commercial drivers must frequently deal with intractable problems. The brewery industry gave an illustration of the difficulties drivers face:
All brewery deliveries are governed by Health and Safety at Work, and the location of many outlets are not conducive to good parking practice (pubs were in existence many years before parking regulations and also many new outlets, such as banks … are being converted without any planning consideration to delivery and safe parking …) there is still a major problem for our industry. 232. Traffic management is difficult where space is constrained and deliveries must be made. The demands of vehicles arriving to load and unload, the pressing need to keep the traffic flowing feely, guarding the quality of life for local residents, and the overriding objective of maintaining a safe environment for all road users, can seem daunting. Planning decisions should reflect a redoubled effort to ensure that the decisions on parking are able to be as realistic as possible. Adequate time must be given for vehicles to load and unload where this is essential. At the same time, those who abuse realistic rules by overstaying or delivering at prohibited times should be penalised heavily. Development control decisions on planning applications must be consistent with decisions taken on traffic and kerbside management. Local authorities should anticipate how planning policies will affect transport policies, and vice versa.

’Cash and valuables in transit’

233. The ’cash and valuables in transit’ sector of the security industry reported the particular problems it routinely encounters when unloading. These companies make in excess of 100,000 deliveries each day using specially adapted and armoured vehicles.
The main parking issue for these companies is the risk to the health and safety of the general public and to their employees through the risk of robbery. This is increased greatly where armoured vehicles have to park some distance from their delivery destinations.

234. According to the British Security Industry Association there were 760 attacks in the UK last year. In a majority of these cases, the offenders carried weapons, and a firearm was drawn on 240 occasions. When questioned about the safety aspect of bullion deliveries, the then Minister, Karen Buck MP, appeared not to be aware of these special and serious problems.

235. The ’cash and valuables in transit’ sector poses particularly acute safety risks, which can be exacerbated by some parking regulations. The then Minister’s response that she was unaware of these particular problems did not reassure us that the Department for Transport has engaged fully with local authorities and the industry on this issue. The Department’s new guidance must take account of the special problems of the security delivery sector. Local authorities must exercise discretion in considering how parking restrictions should be applied to bullion vehicles.

Partnership working between local government and businesses

236. Progress in balancing road capacity and business needs can be made when councils work with delivery companies to find acceptable solutions. Mike Bracey of the Brewery Logistics Group provided a good example:
After many meetings, and a positive approach from both… [the] Head of Parking, City of Westminster, and his team, and my members involved, I can now report that …the level of Penalty Charge Notices in the City of Westminster has fallen ... This 67 per cent drop has been the result of much consultation by all parties, and a will to achieve a positive outcome. 237. Such a cooperative approach is especially useful where there are severe physical constraints on what can be done to accommodate delivery vehicles. For example, the business sector not unnaturally wishes more kerbside space to be assigned for loading purposes. But this is often not possible. Nick Lester of the Association of London Government told us: "I do not think there is the space to put them [in central London] … every city has limited kerb space and it is (particularly in London) not possible to meet all the competing demands for kerb space which are there." Local authorities have a responsibility to keep under close review the balance that must be struck between competing needs for parking and loading and to strive to arrive at cooperative and imaginative solutions.

238. Vehicle deliveries are essential to the economy. Provision for loading and unloading must be reviewed carefully by councils as part of their preparation for the adoption of civil parking enforcement. Thereafter there should be regular reviews at no more than five yearly intervals to ensure that the restrictions remain up-to-date and relevant. Strong communications and a partnership approach to loading problems between businesses, local authorities, residents and other users, has been shown to be helpful in resolving loading disputes. Not every problem can be resolved neatly; but more can be done to integrate vehicle deliveries better into the street environment. The Department for Transport’s guidance should however encourage consultation and constructive relationships between different road users, residents, and local authorities in arriving at loading policies to suit local needs.



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