marking charges rake in £2M,69M in six months
A PROJECT to de- criminalise parking in Lochaber has racked up £20,690 in its first six months.
In October, Highland Council (HC) introduced a £ 550,000 programme which saw the appointment of parking enforcers across Lochaber.
After an introductory period to allow drivers to familiarise themselves with the new terms and conditions, £60 fines have been handed to anyone caught parking illegally since October 24.
Throughout the winter, the number of charges fluctuated with 86 issued in November and 45 during the shorter month of February. As the season has picked up, however, the figure rose to 71 charges in March and a spike of 123 in April.
From the outset, HC said money raised through the penalty charges will be spent on maintaining the service and for traffic-related projects.
The Lochaber Times asked HC if any projects had benefited yet, but it said it first has to break even on service delivery, currently estimated at £400,000 a year.
HC confirmed that, combined with Inverness, 5,125 penalty charges have been issued since October, creating a total value of £213,450.
Only seven charges have been formally appealed but 446 have been cancelled.
According to the council, the most common reasons for cancellation have been when a valid permit has been held but not displayed, where an error in ticket issue has occurred due to evidence not been gathered or where the vehicle was, in fact, permitted to park.
While the increase in the number of charges may be unsurprising due to the summer season starting, the Lochaber Times asked the council to comment on the success of the project given that the figures do not suggest a decline in parking offences in either Lochaber or Inverness.
A spokesperson said: ‘ The enforcement service has been very successful in managing traffic sensitive areas where we have rolled out our service and ensure that contraventions are addressed. There will always be a level of non- compliance with regard to parking and our officers are available to manage that issue.’