Penalty Charge Notice Re-Banding

Closes 5 Oct 2020

Opened 7 Sep 2020

Overview

This consultation is designed to gather opinions on the proposed change to the Penalty Charge amount and to inform any application to change bands to London Councils Transport and Environment Committee (TEC), The Mayor of London's Office and The Secretary of State.  

You can submit your views on the proposed change to the Penalty Charge amount by completing the short survey below.

Currently, two levels of charging operate within London for parking Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), which are sometimes referred to as ‘parking tickets’. The two-levels are Band A (the higher level of charge) and Band B (the lower level of charge).

While the majority of the London boroughs sit in either Band A or B, the London Borough of Brent is one of a small number of boroughs that operate as both a Band A and Band B borough for parking offences. In general terms, the area around Wembley is Band A, while the remainder of Brent is Band B.

The table below shows the number of parking PCNs issued in each Band in Brent for the past three years.

Parking PCNs

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

Band A

60,423

63,262

59,680

Band B

51,858

55,089

64,584

Total

112,282

118,351

124,264

Within each Band, there is a further higher /lower split for offences that are perceived to be more or less serious. In general terms, less serious offences tend to be things like overstaying in a car park or a Pay & Display Bay, while more serious offences tend to be things like parking in a Bus Stop or Disabled Bay or on yellow lines. In all instances, a 14-day 50% discount rule applies for early payments.

The higher and lower charges for both Bands are illustrated in the table below, alongside the discounted charges:

Comparison of Band A and Band B PCN charges

 

PCN Band Level

Higher charge

Discount higher charge

Lower charge

Discount lower charge

B (Current level)

£110

£55

£60

£30

A (Proposed level)

£130

£65

£80

£40

 

Within a Band B borough, this means that a PCN issued for overstaying in a car park could be settled at £30, or for parking in a Disabled Bay at £55.

The charging bands were last reviewed in 2011 and have not changed since then. The bands apply only to parking contraventions, as all bus lane and traffic offences are already at the Band A level across all London Boroughs. Attached to this consultation is a map showing which London authorities operate Band A and Band B.

When considering the banding map of London boroughs, it should be noted that the London Borough’s of Barnet, Hounslow and Ealing have already carried public consultations on moving to Band A.

The objective of any well-functioning enforcement service should be to gain and maintain compliance with parking restrictions. In simple terms, compliance is achieved through a combination of clear, well-maintained and appropriate restrictions supported by a robust and fair enforcement regime. As time passes and compliance increases, the number of parking PCNs issued should reduce, as the majority of motorists follow the regulations.

The London Borough of Brent has instead experienced considerable growth in the number of PCNs issued each year for the past few years, with a rise of 17%. Across the rest of London, the annual increase has been less than 7%.

Within the borough-wide increase of 17% there is a clear and distinct split between Bands A and B.

Variation in Parking PCNs by Band

 

Parking PCNs

2017/18

2019/20

Variance

Percentage

Band A

60,423

59,680

-743

-1%

Band B

51,859

64,584

12,725

+25%

Total

112,282

124,264

18,556

+17%

 

The above table shows an almost static number of Band A PCNs being issued year on year while the number of Band B PCNs issued is increasing rapidly.

There appears to be no good operational reasons for this split. Some of this increase could be due to improved detection by the enforcement team. However, that would most likely apply equally to both Band A & B areas. The more likely reason is simply due to the decreased deterrent effect of the value of the Band B PCN.

With the overall increase of 25% of Band B PCNs, we also note some concerning individual trends.

  • Loading Restriction offences have increased in Band B areas by 194% while only increasing by 3% in Band A areas.
  • Dropped Kerb offences have increased in Band B areas by 288% while reducing by 8% in Band A areas.
  • Bus Stop offences have increased in Band B areas by 21% while reducing by 25% in Band A areas.
  • Pedestrian Crossing offences have increased in Band B areas by 61% while reducing by 9% in Band A areas.

These offences are of concern because of the obstructive or safety-related impacts they have. There is a definite basis towards greater compliance in Band A areas across these offences. 

There were additional notable increases in the Band B area for the following offences.  

  • 40% in Disabled Bay Offences 
  • 113% in Double Parking Offences 
  • 151% in Footway Parking Offences

Again, these offences carry a high anti-social tariff and cause great inconvenience. 

It is important to note that COVID and Lockdown undoubtedly impacted the final month of the 2019/20 year. No adjustment has been made to any of the figures for this event. Had Lockdown not happened, it is likely that the above variances would have only been more significant. 

 

Why We Are Consulting

The Council believes that an increase in the Band B penalty amount (to the Band A level) is likely to restore the deterrent effect of the PCN. This should, in turn, result in higher levels of compliance and an overall reduction in the number of PCNs issued.

The Council is, therefore, proposing to apply to the relevant authorities to re-brand the borough of Brent from a mixed Band A & B  to Band A only for parking contraventions.

The information you provide will be treated confidentially and will be used solely by the London Borough of Brent in support of an application to progress this proposal to the Secretary of State for Transportation.

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