Civil parking enforcement frequently asked questions

Civil parking enforcement (CPE) starts across West Suffolk on 6 April 2020

What is CPE?

Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) is when a local authority takes on responsibility from the police to enforce against illegal parking. This process means parking violations becoming civil offences. CPE applies to both on-street parking (roads and highways) and off-street parking (public car parks run by West Suffolk Council).

Why is CPE being introduced across West Suffolk?

CPE allows West Suffolk Council to better promote safe and sensible parking, while also tackling local parking issues concerning residents. It also allows the Police to focus more heavily on tackling safety, threats and harm, and more serious crimes. CPE has operated successfully in Ipswich since 2005, and the transfer will see the other four districts also take on this responsibility. Through councils employing qualified enforcement officers who can dedicate their time to tackling illegal parking, it means this becomes a higher priority; bringing benefits such as road safety, minimising congestion and improving accessibility on local roads. By promoting better parking, CPE can take a more targeted to approach to dealing with the following parking issues:

  • Road or pavement obstructions causing danger for other road users and pedestrians.
  • Drivers blocking streets preventing emergency vehicle access – especially when time is critical.
  • Avoidable congestion which harms local business and the environment
  • Overstaying in car parks, which can reduce can put people off using local businesses when they can’t find a space – harming the local economy.

In West Suffolk, the move has been widely supported by the public and local businesses.

How is CPE being managed in Suffolk?

Suffolk County Council (SCC) has been granted civil parking enforcement powers. Rather than set up a new service, SCC is working with the district and borough councils to organise enforcement teams. The district and borough councils employ Parking Service teams in public car parks, and it makes sense to extend their roles to include on-street parking. East Suffolk, Ipswich Borough and West Suffolk Councils will undertake enforcement in their own areas. Working with Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils, it has been agreed that enforcement in those two areas will be undertaken by Ipswich Borough and West Suffolk Councils. The enforcement areas can be found on parking enforcement areas.

Will the police still be able to take action after 6 April?

The Police will retain powers to enforce:

  • dangerous or obstructive parking
  • vehicles parked on pedestrian crossings and zig zag lines
  • moving vehicle violations, such as speeding and going through ‘no entry’ signs.

Most parking violations, however, will become civil offences dealt with by the West Suffolk Council.

What will be the impact on illegal parking?

CPE will lead to a significant improvement in parking practices across the West Suffolk and the county, promoting the benefits of good parking and enforcing where necessary. It will reduce unsafe parking, make sure emergency vehicles can get through, reduce impact on local businesses by improving turnover of parking spaces and reduce environmental impact by tackling congestion and idling engines.

How many officers will be patrolling across Suffolk?

Across Suffolk there will be 62 civil enforcement officers patrolling (including West Suffolk).

What areas will be patrolled and how often?

All areas where there are traffic regulations.

Teams will be focused on areas where illegal parking has the most impact on road safety and congestion. Busy town centre streets are likely to be checked every day.

Patrolling will be carried out throughout the year.

What type of traffic regulations will be enforced?

CPE applies to parking rules, including stopping and waiting. Some traffic regulations will continue to be enforced by the police (see above).

How can the public get involved?

Members of the public will be able to report areas and incidents of illegal parking, which officers can respond to as required.

What is the penalty for drivers who park illegally?

There are two levels of Penalty Charge:

  • £70 for the more serious offences, such as parking on yellow lines
  • £50 for less serious offences, such as overstaying in a limited waiting bay.

Both charges are reduced by 50% if paid within 14 days.

What should someone do if they receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN)?

The back of the ticket will give information about how to make a payment and, if necessary, how to challenge the charge.

Can a Penalty Charge Notice be challenged?

Yes. A vehicle owner can dispute a Penalty Charge Notice at three stages:

  • ‘Informal challenges’ or ‘informal representations’ against the PCN before the authority has served a Notice to Owner (NtO)
  • ‘Formal representation’ to the authority once a NtO has been served
  • Through an independent adjudicator, if a formal representation is rejected and a Notice of Rejection is issued.

How is the challenge considered?

The informal and formal representations are considered by a qualified notice processing team employed by the issuing authority. These teams are trained to understand, consider and respond to challenges.

It is not possible for elected councillors nor staff not employed in the notice processing team to be involved when considering a challenge.

An appeal against a Notice of Rejection issued by the authority is considered by an independent adjudicator.

At any stage, it is possible that the Penalty Charge Notice could be withdrawn.

When is a Notice to Owner served?

When a vehicle is observed violating parking regulations. This will either be handed to the driver, attached to the vehicle or sent in the post.

The vehicle owner then has 28 days to pay the charge.

What happens if a Penalty Charge Notice or Notice to Owner is not paid?

If payment for either of these is not received within 28 days, nor successfully challenged, the issuing authority will issue a Charge Certificate, which could lead to enforcement agents taking action to recover the debt.

In addition to the penalty charge being collected, the costs of administration and collecting the debt are also collected from the owner of the vehicle.

How is CPE funded?

The aim of CPE is to achieve 100% compliance of parking regulations. If that was to occur there would be no income from penalty charges. However, if drivers choose to park illegally, they should expect to receive a Penalty Charge Notice.

Fines associated with parking will be retained in West Suffolk to support the cost of enforcement.

Any surplus will be spent on local transport and environmental improvements in West Suffolk.

Are cars allowed to park on pavements?

No. If a vehicle is parked on a pavement where there are relevant parking regulations in place, a Penalty Charge Notice will be issued. Parking regulations include the pavement and verge.

Where parking regulations are not present, this becomes a police matter.

I will struggle to park close to home due to regulations. What can I do?

Nobody has a right to park outside their home, but the chances being able to are increased where there is a residents’ parking scheme in place, or when a resident has purchased a permit.

Where there is a significant demand for parking, it may be possible to introduce new resident parking schemes.

Yellow lines aid road safety, traffic flow and ease congestion and drivers are not permitted to park on yellow lines during the times specified on site.

Limited waiting bays also provide short-term parking close to town centres and other facilities. These can be used by several people throughout the day, which benefits businesses and visitors.

Where can I report illegal parking from 6 April?  

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