Edinburgh’s George Street tops £5.3m parking fines table

Parking attendants on patrol in George Street. Picture: Toby Williams

Parking attendants on patrol in George Street. Picture: Toby Williams

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GEORGE Street has retained its crown as the Capital’s most lucrative road for parking fines – despite a year-long trial which saw traffic restricted.

The city council raked in more than £5.3 million in parking penalties across the city over the last year.

There have been moves, particularly in England, to try to be a bit more flexible about issuing tickets, and that’s something Edinburgh could easily work on.

A total of 180,668 tickets were dished out – around 20 every hour.

And George Street was the most ticketed, despite much of the road space making way for a two-way cycle lane and al fresco dining.

Figures released to the Evening News using Freedom of Information laws show enforcers on the upmarket shopping street handed out 7652 fines in the last year – lining council coffers to the tune of £195,283.

It is thought the annual total will see Edinburgh retain its place as Scotland’s premier ticketing hotspot.

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Last year it was reported the Capital had beaten Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow as the most likely place in Scotland to be hit with a fine.

Edinburgh made £1m more in parking tickets than its west coast neighbour, despite having 100,000 fewer people living within its boundary.

Neil Greig, of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said Edinburgh needed to reduce the huge number of fines by adopting a more flexible approach and making the rules “as clear as possible” to drivers.

He said: “Clearly there are still issues on George Street in terms of road markings and signage. It’s obviously a very popular place to park, but that does not necessarily mean there should be more fines there.

“There have been moves, particularly in England, to try to be a bit more flexible about issuing tickets, and that’s something Edinburgh could easily work on – particularly if it’s having a negative effect on traders.”

Josh Miller, of the George Street Association, said good parking provision was crucial for businesses in and around the city centre.

He said: “I think what this shows is that there’s a genuine desire for parking in the centre of Edinburgh. Maybe it’s time to consider underground car parking on George Street, especially as in four years’ time the new St James Centre will be opening.

“It’s really important that the car is not ignored and we are able to increase provision and not take it away. especially as Edinburgh’s population is growing and the centre is becoming arguably more important.”

Earlier this year, the council unveiled radical plans to extend parking charges later into the evening in a bid to manage traffic and favour permit holders. The proposals would also see the city ditch its free Sunday parking tradition.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport leader, said: “As a major European capital we have thousands of people visiting, working and shopping in Edinburgh every day, so it’s essential that we keep the city moving. Parking restrictions, in the city centre in particular, ensure accessibility for all road users by maintaining road safety and encouraging the free flow of vehicles.

“Parking charges also benefit businesses and customers, as well as residents, by encouraging a frequent turnaround of spaces, deterring all-day parking. Any surplus income from penalties goes back into the transport infrastructure, helping to improve roads, pavements and infrastructure for the city as a whole.”

alistair.grant@jpress.co.uk

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