Northern Ireland news

£1 million of road fines scrapped on appeal

Almost half of all appeals against parking and bus lane fines have been successful
John Monaghan

MORE than £1 million worth of parking and bus lane fines have been withdrawn after successful appeals from motorists.

There were challenges brought against more than 48,000 fines issued in the past two years.

More than half of those - 25,525 - were successful, the equivalent of 36 a day.

A further 200 tickets were scrapped after a further appeal.

Parking fines are currently £45 if paid within a fortnight, rising to £90 after this period.

Based on the minimum fine, it means almost £1.2 million has been written off by the Department for Infrastructure.

The Lisburn Road in South Belfast is the most ticketed street in Northern Ireland.

DUP MLA Christopher Stalford said: "The effect of their actions has been to actively deter people from going to the Lisburn Road and spending money there."

There have been claims that motorists have been issued with parking tickets near the Europa Hotel in Belfast after 8pm on weeknights, despite restrictions ending at 6pm and the ticket machine not accepting money at that time.

Last month another DUP MLA accused "over-zealous" car parking attendants of "actively competing" to issue fines.

DUP North Down MLA Alex Easton said: "Over-zealous car parking attendants are actively competing to raise as much revenue as possible as an alternative source of income to the department.

"This in my view is wrong and sends out the wrong message to local businesses.

"Action is required urgently to reduce the burden of fines, to increase flexibility, to encourage shoppers into our town centres and for Transport Northern Ireland to decide to listen for a change."

The Assembly called on Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard to investigate the reduction of mandatory parking fines and look at options to review on-street car parking fees and times.

The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association has also urged the minister to devolve on-street car parking to the 11 councils, giving them a greater role in shaping town centres and high streets.

A spokesman for the Department for Infrastructure said: "Of the total PCNs issued, only 9% are successfully challenged. The department would prefer that drivers adhere to the law."

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