The BBC reports that overseas driver are not paying parking fees and when given a fine they simply ignore the fine and drive home. Westminster City Council reports that between July 2007 and October 2010, 45,437 tickets issued to foreign-registered vehicles had been written off because the driver could not be traced - with £3.2m still owed. That is £70.42 per ticket. Let me add my 2p.
This was reported after 20 UK councils and police forces responded to a Freedom of Information request. The BBC did not state clearly who requested the report, either the BBC or the Campaign group the Sparks Network. May I ask why this took a freedom of information request? Why is this a state secrete? Are councils afraid the public is going to think they are awash in cash and may demand lower taxes?
And may I ask the councils; what’s the bitch? Had those 45 thousand people just paid the meter what would have been the take? Subtract this from the outstanding fines and that is what councils really think they lost. The only money they lost was the fee, which is applied to control parking and giving shoppers a chance to park. This in itself generates taxes paid by merchants. Yes, the councils are entitled to the fines but only government sees not receiving money not directly due them as a loss. If everyone paid the parking fee and never got a fine, how much money is “lost”?
Apparently the UK cannot locate foreign owners under current EU regulations. As the European Union is attempting to behave like a United States of Europe it should be easy to locate registered cars. Here, when a car is stopped, the police know within minutes the owner name ad address along with outstanding warrants or suspensions. When I get a parking ticket the make and model of my car is printed on the ticket along with my license. The government keeps track of that and when you reach five outstanding tickets you car is located and booted. You are unable to dive it until the fines are paid. It is too bad that Brussels has so much control over London life but that is what happens when you sign your rights away. Still, I think innovative ways can be found to collect fines on foreign cars. It could be a money maker.