Report by Alex Evans, Reporter
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
PARKING on double yellow lines will no longer be a criminal offence in Somerset from next month as the county makes the switch to civil parking enforcement.
From June 11, parking on restriction lines or in loading bays in areas of Somerset will no longer be dealt with by Avon and Somerset Constabulary.
Instead, officers from Somerset County Council will issue fines.
The council will also take responsibility for issuing tickets in off-street car parks and on-street parking bays, as well as doling out penalties for those parking in resident-only zones.
The fines will be set at £50-70, reduced to half if paid within 14 days – with the higher bracket reserved for more serious offences such as parking on double yellows or in restricted areas.
There will also be a £60 fine for misusing bus lanes.
Currently, police tickets for parking on double yellow lines are just £30.
Sedgemoor District Council, which was in charge of off-street car parks in Somerset, said it had passed responsibility to Somerset County Council in order to save money, improve efficiency and make it less confusing for the public because only one authority will deal with all parking issues.
Several councillors from North Somerset have been pushing North Somerset Council to follow suit and take over responsibility for double yellows from police.
Cllr John Crockford-Hawley said at a council meeting last month that police do not currently enforce yellow line parking in Weston, which he said put the effectiveness of the authority’s new pay-and-display scheme in jeopardy.
He said motorists would choose to flout yellow lines rather than pay for parking and called on the authority to follow Somerset County Council’s example and take on responsibility for civil enforcement.