No extra grace for drivers

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Drivers in north Northumberland will not reap any reward from government plans to allow motorists five-minutes’ grace after their ticket expires.

Northumberland County Council has revealed that its enforcement officers already operate such a policy.

A council spokesman said: “The government’s proposals specifically relate to grace periods following expiry of pay and display tickets.

“Northumberland County Council already gives a grace period of five minutes in on-street parking places and 10 minutes in off-street car parks before issuing fines for not displaying valid pay and display tickets.

“Therefore our policy is already in line with the government’s proposals for on-street and is more generous in off-street car parks.”

The council has come under fire from traders for handing out so many parking tickets. They say the over-zealous attitude of the wardens is causing further damage to the town centre’s struggling economy.

Almost 5,000 parking tickets were issued in Berwick during 2012/13 by county council enforcement officers.

A parliamentary report has suggested there is “a deep-rooted perception that local authorities view parking enforcement as a cash cow.”

The Commons Transport Committee said it was “hard to justify parking fines that are substantially more than the fines for more serious offences like speeding” and outlined new proposals for public consultation.

These include parking fine reductions and a ban on the use of CCTV cameras to enforce restrictions.

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