Changes are being made to the way parking tickets are given out to stop people driving off to avoid a fine.
Illegal parkers will now receive a ticket in the post even if an enforcement officer has only started writing it out following changes made by Lancashire County Council.
Current practice is that a penalty is issued by post if someone drives off – but only if the enforcement officer has finished writing and printing out the notice.
The council says the current rules make it difficult to enforce parking in busy places where regular illegal parking causes safety problems, delays and inconvenience, because drivers only stop for a short time, knowing they can return and move their vehicle before a penalty can be issued.
The decision was agreed this week by County Councillor John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport. He said: “There are a number of places in Lancashire where there are parking restrictions for very good reasons, to ensure safety or reduce congestion, but they’re difficult to enforce because people park illegally for short periods knowing they can move before a penalty can be issued.
“These are often very busy places where people want to drop children at school, or visit a shop, takeaway, or cash machine and think that parking illegally for a few minutes won’t be a problem. However, it often does cause a problem because when one driver leaves another arrives soon after, creating congestion and an ongoing negative impact on everyone who uses the area.
“Until now we’ve always taken a cautious approach and only issued penalties by post where the notice has already been printed out, but the regulations allow a penalty to be issued by post even if the officer has only started to issue it.
“Adopting this practice will allow us to provide a stronger deterrent to drivers whose illegal parking has a detrimental impact on an area, but who drive away before a penalty can be issued.”
This change does not affect the way parking is enforced in any other way. For example civil enforcement officers will continue to observe a vehicle parked on double yellow lines for five minutes before issuing a penalty, and will continue to issue a penalty instantly to a vehicle parked illegally where there’s a loading ban.
It is estimated around 2,000 more penalty notices will be issued every year as a result of adopting the new practice.