4.9 million parking tickets

A record 4.9 million parking tickets were issued in London in the last year - an increase of more than 700,000.

Unprecedented numbers of motorists were given fines of up to L80 after being caught parking illegally in the capital's 33 boroughs.
london.jpgThe main reason for the rise was the dramatic spread of residents' parking zones, and the recruitment of more parking attendants to police them. But a record number of motorists who drive in bus lanes were also caught out by the increased use of cameras in buses and at roadsides.

Transport experts have warned that the number of penalty tickets will continue to rise as more London streets are converted to residents-only parking.
The scale of offences is revealed today in an annual parking report by the Association of London Government, which represents the boroughs. It reveals that 4,615,451 penalty tickets were issued in the year to March 2002 - up 422,512 on the previous 12 months, a rise of 10 per cent.

In addition, drivers were caught in bus lanes 290,231 times - the first time that the authorities have been able to measure the scale of the crackdown across Transport for London's "red route" network.

This means that a total of 4,905,682 tickets were issued - bringing the boroughs more than L330 million in revenue. By law this money must be reinvested in transport-related projects. Nick Lester, the ALG's director

Local Government Correspondent of transport and environment, said the total number of offences was bound to increase - although a slight fall in the congestion charging zone was likely as fewer drivers were coming into the centre of the city.

He said: "This number will keep growing. Where we are at the moment is that the whole of central London and about 95 per cent of inner London are covered by controlled parking zones, plus the town centres in outer London. What will happen over the years is that these will grow as a result of pressure from residents or traders."

Camden council, which recorded the largest increase in tickets with an extra 123,285 offences, said this was due to a rapid growth in controlled parking zones (CPZs) over the last two years.

This programme had been accelerated when congestion charging had been confirmed.

A spokeswoman said: "Over the past two years the majority of Camden has become a CPZ. This was partly in preparation for congestion charging to avoid commuters being able to dump their cars in residential areas and travel on into central London."

A spokesman for the RAC Foundation said the growth of CPZs had often extended to areas with no real problems of commuter parking, simply to raise money for councils. However, he said many bus lane offences were caused by motorists parking " selfishly" and who deserved no sympathy.

He urged motorists to challenge any disputed tickets as figures continued to show that about twothirds of challenges saw the fine being overturned on appeal.

The figures also show that 87,281 vehicles were clamped and 65,901 were towed away - both slightly down on the previous year.
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