Closer links between car park operators in the North and in the Republic will bring a better deal for motorists. At the same time efforts to catch errant cross-Border motorists are being stepped up.
The link-up between the Irish Parking Association (IPA) and the Northern branch of the British Parking Association (BPA) was announced today (FRI) at the European Parking Congress taking place in Dublin.
Different laws apply between North and South but the collaboration has drawn out common issues that will be used as a means of fostering greater co-operation between the associations.
A new Parking Plan for the island of Ireland will see co-operation on innovation, technology and sustainability to bring benefits for the motoring public North and South.
It also makes the case for the introduction of legislation in both jurisdictions to ensure that everyone who undertakes parking enforcement should be properly qualified and properly regulated.
The Plan adds: “Everyone should have the right of appeal against parking enforcement. We want to ensure that all motorists who park on public or private land and where enforcement action is taken against them should have access to an independent means of redress.”
There is a pledge by the organisations that “every car park should be properly serviced and maintained”. It added: “We want to see a greater emphasis on the need to ensure that all our parking structures are properly inspected and maintained.”
On safety, the operators want all car parks to be safer and to see wider public awareness of the Park Mark scheme – approved by the UK police – which are designed to reduce crime and the fear of crime in car parks.
The Plan also states: “We want to ensure that parking concessions for people with mobility difficulties are properly managed to ensure those not entitled to are stopped from taking advantage of them.”
Mr Keith Gavin, Chairman of the IPA said: “maintaining standards across the profession is our highest priority and by adopting best practice we will ensure parking provision and enforcement are kept in line with the rest of the UK and Europe.”
He pointed out that the Irish Parking Association is keen to collaborate with government departments and public agencies to properly regulate the sector and ensure the highest levels of professional standards in the industry.
Mr Simon Richardson, Chair of the BPA Northern Ireland Group said: “The aim is to focus on consistency so, whether you are north or south of the border, you can expect an accepted standard of service, which applies whether you are a member of the public, supplier or colleague. We are particularly keen to promote innovation, technology and sustainability as we adapt to outside influences.”
Meanwhile, Mr Richardson, Chairman of the BPA Northern Branch, said that new laws on the swapping of data on motorists who break the law in either jurisdiction were working well.
He pointed out that this was the first example in all of Europe of the sharing of such information between different states.
Mr Richardson said they were now moving to the next level adding: “There are a few people who still won’t pay up for breaking the law North or South and we have to work out how and where we pursue them on that.”
The 16th EPA Congress, held lastweek in Dublin, found that:
- Parking has an important impact in urban planning, but the awareness of that fact is underestimated by many urban planners.
- Some cities have demonstrated that close cooperation between urban planners and parking professionals can lead to good solutions for the cities.
- A global survey among parking professionals shows that cooperation between decision makers and parking professionals is valued as an important factor for success.
- Parking of private cars close to the High Street should be closely considered to maintain the attractiveness of the city centre.