BOLTON Council insists it does not use parking fines to make money after it was revealed the government is looking to reduce parking penalties across the country.
The Department for Transport, responding to a report by the Commons Transport Committee, is considering making changes to the ways councils deal with parking offences after it was claimed some use parking penalties as a money maker.
These could include abolishing minimum penalty parking charges, banning the use of CCTV cameras to enforce restrictions and implementing a nationwide five minute grace period before handing fines to drivers whose tickets have expired.
The Local Government Association calculated councils nationally made a surplus from on and off street parking of £411 million between 2011 and 2012.
Bolton Council made just over £800,000 from parking charges and penalty notices in 2012/13, and the authority is ranked 160 out of 353 local authorities for the surplus it makes — a fall from last year’s 116th place.
Councillors have said any surplus made will go back into the running of the highways department. Cllr Nick Peel said: “It is not a revenue raiser for us, the money left over goes for fixing things like pot holes and I think a lot of people will think that that is fair enough.”
He also confirmed that Bolton Council already operate the proposed five minute grace period for people with expired parking tickets, but disagreed with the idea of removing CCTV enforcement, describing it as a “useful deterrent”.
He added: “If someone is regularly parking outside a school and a warden turns up, they can just drive off, but if you have a CCTV car in place then hopefully people will avoid parking there in the first place.”
Bolton Council charges £70 for fixed penalty notices but drivers will be charged £35 if they pay the fine within 14 days.
Cllr David Chadwick, Bolton Council’s member for transport, said: “There has to be some form of deterrent and drivers need to know what the limitations are, if you don’t have one there will be mayhem.”