Parking Ticket Rise in Belfast Smacks of “Over Zealous” Approach – Spratt

South Belfast DUP MLA Jimmy Spratt has hit out at the Department of Regional Development after they revealed that the number of parking tickets issued in Belfast has increased from 14,797 for the period 13 November 2006 to 31 March 2007, to a massive 47,876 for the period 1st April 2007 to 31 March 2008. Speaking after receiving the figures in a response to an Assembly Question tabled to the Minister for Regional Development, Conor Murphy, Mr Spratt said:

“Such a massive rise in the number of parking tickets issues in Belfast would indicate that we do have a continuing problem with illegal parking in the city, but it would also hint that the approach taken by Roads Service is over zealous and draconian.

I receive many complaints from constituents about the approach taken by traffic wardens, who refuse to take into account any mitigating circumstances and purely approach parking as a ‘black and white’ issue. Indeed, only recently one constituent witnessed a disabled driver being forced to move by a traffic warden because they would be blocking access to fire appliances – despite the presence of an off duty fireman indicating the disabled gentleman was not causing any hindrance. Such episodes cause great distress for the innocent parties involved.

The issue here is that a ‘common sense’ approach is taken by traffic wardens rather than the over zealous approach currently taken by those patrolling our streets. We all want to see safe, legal parking, but at times a word in the ear can be as effective as a penalty charge notice. It begs the question how many times is advice or a warming given to motorists as an alternative to a fine?”

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