Call to get to the bottom of unpaid parking fines

Call to get to the bottom of unpaid parking fines <i>(Image: Archant)</i>
Call to get to the bottom of unpaid parking fines (Image: Archant)

Hundreds of parking fines are going unpaid in Renfrewshire each year - sparking calls for the council to review its policy.

The local authority handed out 3759 tickets last year but 521 were not settled by the driver, figures have revealed.

It means the council could be missing out on as much as £31,260 for 2021-22 alone.

Unpaid fines have been a long running problem, with 216 outstanding in 2020-21, on top of 1034 in 2019-20, 1583 in 2018-19 and 1166 in 2017-18.

Councillor Chris Gilmour, the Labour group’s spokesperson for environment and infrastructure, believes an official inquiry should be conducted to get to the bottom of the situation.

He said: “I think the council should carry out a review of their enforcement, or non-enforcement shall we say, to understand why it’s happening and what we can do to improve that situation.

“Some might be impossible to enforce, but others we might be able to enforce and we need to understand, is it a lack of enforcement officers, are the courts jammed up, where are we?

“Is it a lack of boots on the ground, is it a lack of staff? It opens up a whole cornucopia of ideas once you scratch the surface.”

The data, which was disclosed following a Freedom of Information request, showed, in addition to the 3759 in 2021-22, there were 1246 tickets issued in total in 2020-21, 5191 in 2019-20, 6946 in 2018-19 and 6823 in 2017-18.

A raft of fines are also overturned each year, including 147 in the last year, 42 in 2020-21, 187 in 2019-20, 626 in 2018-19 and 382 in 2017-18.

Councillor Gilmour added: “What’s the issue? A, there’s hundreds of parking fines not being paid and B, there’s a number of parking fines, 147 [in the last year], that are not enforceable.

“Those are the two key issues that have got to be reviewed to let the council understand why those fines aren’t paid and why 147 are not enforceable.

“That then would help us strategically going forward, in terms of how to plan and how to look at our parking policy.”

A penalty charge notice issued for a parking fine is £60. If the individual pays the fine within 14 days, it is reduced to £30.

A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “The vast majority of parking penalty charge notices are paid in full and there is a robust, established recovery process, including offering payment plans to assist people, with matters referred to sheriff officers at the final stage where payment has not been received.

“Where a legitimate reason is presented appealing against a notice, this is considered in full and rescinded where appropriate.”