CCTV Cameras positioned to film loading bays are now becoming a common exploitation to extract more cash from the motorist. This seems to be another deployment by our local councils and police forces to profit from illegal parking. The main thrust of the fines seem to play on the fact that most people generally don't understand the rules, or the rules seem to be changing over time. Councils are installing (closed circuit television) CCTV cameras to 'so called' deter illegal parking; however, many motorists are receiving unjust fines that also appear unchallengeable.
Challenging CCTV cameras in exception zones
CCTV cameras have previously been installed for a good reason to enforce our road safety and encourage a consistent traffic flow. The main problem with the filming of parking bays is that there isn't any warning process in place. If a motorist does not understand how a loading bay works then the only way to find out is when the fine is received through the post. Should there be a 'grace decision' made first where a letter goes out to the vehicle owner explaining the loading bay restrictions and that if the vehicle is caught again then a fine will apply. This would make more sense, especially when the rules of the parking bay can change.
Our local councils currently work closely with the police. Should anyone park in a bay where there is a CCTV camera, you will be given a PCN (Parking Charge Notice). However, depending upon locations, motorists are generally allowed a specific time limit to load or unload, in this case why is the parking illegal?
The issue is people are receiving PCNs even though they believe they are parking within the time limit legally. Generally, restrictions are enforced during certain times of the day i.e. within 30 mins.
Here's an example: Your mobile phone rings and you feel it's safe and perfectly legal to pull over once you have checked the parking sign. The sign specifically states twenty minutes loading and unloading. You believe you have done the honourable deed by not answering your mobile when driving, so parking in a legal zone to answer your call seems a good decision. However, a few days later you receive a PCN through your door with a fixed number of days to pay.
What we might feel is unfair is in fact legal for the council. Here's their point of view 'Ignorance is no excuse'. The fact is answering your mobile phone is not seen as loading, or unloading. Even though you may think the PCN appears unfair, in this situation the fine still has to be paid. Should you want to challenge the council you risk your fine doubling.
If you park in a 'loading only' zone to pop in the shop, you will have committed an offence and will receive a fine. However, if you are parking to load or unload, and you receive a PCN, you have the right to challenge the fine. Nevertheless, to make a dispute, you must be able to prove you were loading and unloading. Please be aware signs are now stating that you must be a 'Goods Vehicle' so be aware! You may have a family car and unloading, however you are not a commercial vehicle and therefore could end up with a fine.
If you park in a loading exemption zone, CCTV cameras will detect your registration number. The easiest way to avoid PCNs to park in the nearest pay and display area, or away from the main shops. There are 4 types of parking bays located near to high streets now, disable bays, loading bays, pay and display bays and free to park 'within a set time' bays.
The cost of a PCN
Depending upon your area, the cost of a PCN is £50 to £110. However, if you pay within 14 to 30 days, you will receive a significant reduction. Appealing PCNs can be risky, if you are not successful, your fine could more than double due to court costs.
What experiences have your heard about regarding loading bays? We would love to hear your points of view below.