Wardens 'could issue 58 more fines a week' says Shepway council
MORE than 3,000 extra parking tickets could be issued every year after it emerged council bosses believe wardens are not working at maximum capacity.
The Herald has obtained documents given to outsourcing firm NSL by Shepway District Council which state that the present level of 15,000 tickets a year could be hiked to "in excess of 18,000".
While it is illegal for specific targets to be set in contracts, the contract specification document written by SDC suggests wardens are capable of handing out at least 20 per cent more tickets – an extra 58 every week.
At present, fines are £50 or £70, depending on the contravention, but if payment is made within 14 days the charge is reduced by 50 per cent.
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It means SDC could pocket between £75,000 and £210,000 in additional ticket revenue a year.
That figure is on top of ticket revenues, which stood at nearly £390,000 in 2010.
Brian MacDowall, from the Association of British Drivers, said the council's position was "totally unacceptable" and praised the Herald for making the Freedom of Information request which uncovered the figures.
He said: "It's just squeezing more money out of drivers.
"It's perhaps understandable for there to be an upping of the supply of services in commercial contracts but not here, when it's levying fines on people.
"It's a pity it has taken a Freedom of Information request from the Herald to get the council's true intentions into the public domain. It's infuriating."
A spokesman for the district council said: "We made a straightforward statement of fact that independent analysis estimated there were 18,000 parking contraventions each year in the district. This is not a target.
"The purpose of the parking enforcement contract is to properly manage parking for the benefit of residents and other road users and it is important that we understand the size of the task."