Parking fines: Council snubs 10 minute grace period

CITY council chiefs have ruled out following England’s lead and granting motorists a ten-minute grace period after their parking ticket runs out.

The city council says motorists already have a five-minute grace period. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
The city council says motorists already have a five-minute grace period. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

The council insisted it already allowed drivers five minutes’ extra time before issuing a fine, but said it had no plans to extend this.

A change in the law south of the Border – due to come into effect within weeks – will see local authorities required to give ten minutes’ grace before they can hit offending motorists with a fine.

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The move was announced by UK Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, who said they were ending a “war on the motorist”.

In a joint statement, they said: “Local residents and businesses will be able to demand a review of parking in their area, including charges and the use of yellow lines. Parking adjudicators will be able to hold councils to account so they can look to change signs and stop fines in areas where parking tickets keep being issued.

“We are bringing back common sense. Very soon shoppers and drivers will also benefit from ten-minute grace periods for council-controlled parking, whether it’s on or off-street, paid or free. It means you won’t get fined for being a few minutes late. We’re also ending the industrial use of CCTV spy cars to enforce on-street parking.”

Mr Pickles added: “We are ending the war on drivers who simply want to go about their daily business. For too long parking rules have made law-abiding motorists feel like criminals, and caused enormous damage to shops and businesses.”

The AA said motorists would welcome more flexibility to save them worrying about the accuracy of their watch.

AA president Edmund King said: “This is a common-sense move. All too often there are discrepancies between the car clock, the civic clock, the pay-and-display clock, the parking attendant’s clock and the driver’s watch, which all result in disputed tickets.

“It is counter-productive to have parking attendants hiding in doorways to issue tickets the minute a ticket runs out, as this deters drivers from shopping in the high street.”

And Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said the new grace period would help ease tensions and make everyone’s lives easier. He said: “For such a minor part of our lives parking generates a huge amount of frustration and anger.”

But the Scottish Government made clear it was not planning to make any similar changes to the law north of the Border.

A spokeswoman for national agency Transport Scotland said: “The operation of local authority car parking in Scotland is a matter for individual local roads authorities, who are expected to operate within the relevant statutory regimes.

“Transport Scotland has no plans to review these regimes.”

A city council spokeswoman said: “In Edinburgh we allow a five-minute grace period for overstaying in pay and display parking bays. There are no current plans to review this.”