Northern Ireland

Request to relax parking fine timeframes to help with cost of living crisis turned down

Infrastructure minister John O'Dowd
Infrastructure minister John O'Dowd Infrastructure minister John O'Dowd

THE Department for Infrastructure (DfI) has rejected a proposal to relax the time frame for the payment of parking fines to help people battle through the cost of living crisis.

Former minister John O'Dowd was asked to consider extending the period of payment for Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) by Foyle assembly member Mark H Durkan.

Motorists fined for parking offences are given 28 days to pay a £90 penalty.

However, if payment is made within two weeks the penalty is reduced to £45.

Mr Durkan had proposed extending the discount time from 14 days to six weeks to ease the financial pressures as household and other bills soar.

In response to a question from Mr Durkan, the former minister said: “As PNCs are intended to discourage illegal parking my department has no plans to change the discount period.”

Mr Durkan said he cannot accept the rationale.

The "aim of parking enforcement has always been to discourage illegal parking and not about making money," he said.

Parking enforcement was suspended by ex-DfI minister Nichola Mallon in 2020 as the pandemic took hold.