NEW transport proposals that would render some of York's parking policies unlawful have been condemned by campaigners and city leaders.

The Department for Transport is looking at ordering a reduction in the value of parking fines and banning councils from using CCTV to enforce parking restrictions, which would mean City of York Council having to get rid of the camera car it bought last month.

MPs today debated the proposals in Parliament, but the suggestions were criticised in York.

Coun David Levene, city council cabinet member for environmental services, said: "If localism means anything then I’d hope that the Government would leave local communities to decide such decisions for themselves.

“Residents and parents alike have for many years complained about illegal and irresponsible parking and Labour is taking this seriously. This is about having consideration for other road users and there is no value in having a parking restriction if you are not prepared to enforce it”.
He said it was pleasing the Government was exploring the issue but said they should not stop councils taking necessary action.

The council introduced the car in February, saying there had been complaints from many parents and head teachers about irresponsible parking near schools.

In Parliament today, Richard Burden, Shadow Minister for Transport, said: “The move to ban CCTV has been opposed by pretty much every single group I have met.”

“I have yet to see any evidence base for such a ban.”

“More than 75 councils have made substantial investments in this technology. More importantly than the cost is the importance this could have on road safety because CCTV cameras have proved pretty effective in improving safety in places such as around schools.”

I am shocked that the Government seems to be prepared to ban CCTV without economic or safety assessment at all if that is what they are going to do.”

The Government ran a consultation from December to February on the proposals to amend parking strategies, to ensure they "complement and enhance the attractiveness of our high streets and town centres".

It had been claimed some councils were using parking as a "cash cow". As well as fine levels and CCTV use, other issues considered by the Government include whether councils should have to give a short "grace period" when drivers over-stay in a paid-for parking place, and calling for less heavy-handed approaches to parking enforcement.

The Local Government Association said banning CCTV parking enforcement would put children at risk, by preventing councils from tackling dangerous and illegal parking outside schools.