South England seeks £500,000 from foreigners in unpaid parking fines

| April 24, 2013 | 0 Comments

Councils in South England are trying to recover more than £500,000 in parking fines owed by overseas drivers since 2009. Of this staggering amount, Oxfordshire has the lion’s share of £358,290 in unpaid fines. Portsmouth City Council is looking at recovering its fines (£143,666) through external contractor Euro Parking Council (EPC). (Report: BBC)

Car Parking In Oxford

Parking squeeze in Oxford (via Michael Coghlan).

Michael Robinson, parking operations manager at Portsmouth City Council, said: “We felt it was unfair British people were having to pay and foreign-registered vehicles were getting away with it.”A council spokesman told Transport Network: ‘‘We’ve sent 542 cases to EPC to recover since October 2010. So far 117 cases have been paid, 161 have been returned unsuccessful, 264 remain open.”

“EPC obtains keeper details from the country’s Vehicle Licensing Authority (VLA) and sends letters to owners in their native language asking for the money.

Stuart Hendry, from EPC, said: “Not all VLAs in each country will give out keeper details. France for example doesn’t, but the majority will.”

“The company operates on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, taking a percentage commission on the amount of fines reclaimed.

Mr. Hendry said it was common to see “persistent evaders”. He added: “One of every three foreign vehicles we deal with has ten or more Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs).”

As foreigners know that they can’t be identified and they are going to be able to get away with parking violations, many have no compunction in repeatedly defaulting on parking fines in England. Some councils have written off fines earlier because they couldn’t trace overseas drivers.

The West Oxfordshire DC said that its parking wardens no longer issue PCNs to foreign vehicles because, “it is not in the public interest to incur irrecoverable expenditure in pursuing these matters.” Like Porstmouth, Oxfordshire and Southhampton are also planning to hire external contractors to tap in this large potential revenue stream. EPC is currently working on pilot programs in London to help the police reclaim fines like these in a similar manner.

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Category: News, No Parking, Regulations