Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Freight and Road Haulage Interests to Have Input into Parking Restriction Regulations

Penalty Notices are 'Huge Financial Burden' on Logistics Industry as New Report Issued
Shipping News Feature

UK – When the Freight Transport Association (FTA) conducted its Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) survey last year it discovered, unsurprisingly, that these instant parking penalty charges are a huge financial burden to the freight and logistics industry, with road haulage operators incurring not just millions of pounds a year in fines but seeing many companies forced to employ dedicated staff purely to pay and appeal PCN’s due to the high volumes inevitably received in the normal course of business, particularly in multi drop urban areas.

Now, in a report issued today, the Transport Select Committee has announced recommendations to the Government regarding Local Authority Parking Enforcements in England which includes the need for discussions with road hauliers and local authorities regarding innovative ways of dealing with the needs of businesses, and stating that greater clarity should be provided on the rules for loading and unloading which, as any carrier knows, are more than a little confused at present.

FTA’s Managing Director of Policy & Communications- James Hookham had provided oral evidence to the Transport Select Committee when he had stressed that the Traffic Management Act (TMA), that governs local authority parking policy, was in need of fundamental review as it fails to distinguish between ‘parking provision’, which is mainly concerned with private cars, and deliveries to commercial and residential premises, which are an essential economic activity.

As a result the Transport Committee has advised the Government to hold a ‘roundtable’ discussion with road hauliers and local authorities to identify and then disseminate innovate ways of dealing with conflicts between delivery needs and parking controls. The Committee’s recommendations have been received as good news by FTA which is delighted that points raised within its evidence were taken into consideration.

In addition the Committee Announcement stated that local authorities must work with local businesses to develop innovative parking solutions that work for their areas while Government should consider developing business rates relief for businesses that invest in affordable town centre parking solutions. The FTA Director had also urged the Committee to recognise that commercial vehicles are in town to make essential deliveries that business and residents rely on. Given an operating cost of around a pound per minute for Lorries’ to operate in town centres, they are not there to ‘park’, but instead perform an essential economic task. James Hookham said:

“The FTA is delighted that its voice has been heard on behalf of its members. We told the Transport Committee that the Traffic Management Act (TMA) was in need of fundamental review; the Committee’s recommendation to the Government to hold a roundtable discussion with road hauliers and local authorities has to be a step in the right direction. Whilst reducing congestion is important, there needs to be a balance, and good provision for deliveries is essential in order to support local businesses.

“No operator sets out to deliberately contravene the restrictions on parking, but the lack of adequate provision means that delivery vehicles have little choice but to stop on restricted routes to gain access to adjacent premises, and become ‘easy pickings’ for enforcement officers. The law needs to be clarified to distinguish between ‘parking’ and ‘delivery and servicing activity’.

“The issuing of a PCN is a sign of policy failure rather than enforcement success. However, due to the potentially large income local authorities can make from fines, the incentive is not there to reduce the numbers issued. Greater leadership by central government is needed to ensure a consistent and fair application of the parking policy framework which respects the difference between illegal parking and vital business deliveries.”

Photo: The Parking Flower by the inimitable Banksy.