Consultation on Penalty Charge Notices for Parking Enforcement

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Closes 4 Oct 2021


The Road Traffic Act 1991 introduced provisions enabling the decriminalisation of most non-endorsable parking offences in London and permitted similar arrangements to be introduced elsewhere throughout the UK.  The relevant provisions of the 1991 Act were commenced in Scotland in June 1997 and, to date, 21 out of 32 Scottish local authorities have obtained DPE powers. The following link is a map of current DPE areas;

Under the scheme, participating local authorities administer their own parking penalty schemes including the issuing of PCNs to motorists breaching parking controls in specified areas.  The DPE regime seeks to ensure that parking policies are implemented effectively and the underlying objective of DPE operation should be to achieve 100% compliance with parking controls and therefore no penalty charges.

In areas with DPE, stationary traffic offences cease to be criminal offences enforced by the police and instead become civil penalties imposed by local authorities.  Enforcement of certain parking offences such as obstructive or dangerous parking remains the responsibility of Police Scotland. 

Parking policies are an essential part of a local authority’s traffic management strategy, especially when considering any potential rise in the use of private vehicles throughout the COVID 19 pandemic and should be designed to manage the traffic network effectively, improving or maintaining traffic flow and reducing congestion.  This improves road safety and the local environment and encourages, where appropriate, increased use of more sustainable and healthy forms of travel. 

The integration of enforcement powers and parking policy should enhance local authority accountability to its residents for overall parking policy, as well as enabling better monitoring of the effectiveness and value of parking controls to ensure that such parking policy is responsive to public needs.  Income from on-street parking enforcement is not an additional revenue source for local authorities but is used to finance their parking enforcement procedures.  A breach of parking rules within an area where DPE is in force will require payment to the local authority of a penalty charge.