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Foreign Drivers Failing To Pay Parking Fines

By raccars Published

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Local councils are losing millions of pounds in parking fines which go unpaid by foreign drivers. The Local Government Association (LGA), studied a third of its total of 370 authorities and found £2 million outstanding from foreign drivers' parking fines in the last year alone. Westminster Council in the capital had £3 million outstanding.

The fines are unenforceable because councils have no way of tracking foreign registered vehicles, so if fines remain unpaid 28 days after the tickets are issued, they are written off. Over 10,000 tickets with a value of about £500,000 were written off by Oxfordshire, Portsmouth and Southampton local authorities over the past five years. Brighton council issues some 2% of its total parking tickets to foreign registered vehicles, which fines come to about £2,000 per month.

By contrast, British cars receiving parking fines abroad can be traced and owners are obliged to pay.

Figures for Central London have shown French drivers have accumulated the most unpaid tickets, with more than £1 million outstanding, totalling more than the following seven countries added together. Belgian drivers are second on the list owing £273,000, followed by Spanish drivers, who owe £131,000 in Central London. The worst offenders' list continues with Germany, Romania, the Netherlands, Ireland, Bulgaria, Italy and, the only non-European country on the list, the United Arab Emirates.

There is already concern among motoring organisations that the government has lost track of the number of foreign registered cars in the UK. The regulations allow foreign registered vehicles to remain in the UK for up to six months on their existing plates, before they have to re-register onto UK plates, but there is no system in place to ensure car owners comply. The DVLA has to rely on tip offs from the police or the public, to discover if foreign registered cars have outstayed their allotted time period.

The LGA is now recommending a central register be kept of foreign cars in the UK, so that the millions of pounds currently being lost in unpaid parking tickets can be collected and directed towards the upkeep of roads and transport infrastructure. The Department for Transport has been non-committal, claiming only that government agencies continue to communicate on how best to handle the issue.

The news comes on top of a recent report, claiming that foreign embassies owe the UK more than £75 million for unpaid congestion charges and parking fines.

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