Most of us are aware that we need to clear the snow from our car before we set out on a journey. However, one motorist was left furious after receiving a parking fine because snow had fallen on his car while he was at work and obscured where the permit was located.
Ollie Claxton was confused when he received a £70 parking fine through the post. The penalty had been issued by a Derby City Council parking warden and left Ollie puzzled because had a permit for where he had parked. He had been working away in London for a few months before receiving the letter on December 12th containing the fine.
He visited the council’s website where he could view a picture of his car and instantly realised what had happened – it had been snowing while he was in work and the windscreen of the car had a light covering on it. The parking warden had not bothered to dust the snow off to look for the permit and instead continued to issue the penalty.
Derby Council then admitted that snow and ice can cover a permit and revoked the fine after media outrage. It also came to light that the parking warden had accidentally put in the number plate wrong and was therefore not able to cross reference the number plate with a permit. The last digit had been inputted as a zero rather than the letter ‘O’.
Derby City Council said: “Drivers are responsible for ensuring that permits are clearly displayed, but snow and ice can temporarily obscure the visibility of a permit.
“Officers are advised not to touch vehicles to avoid possible complaints that they have caused any damage.”
Fines and fees
Figures from last year show drivers are paying out some £1.5 billion for parking permits, pay and display meters and fines across the country. Councils in London alone collected some £600 million from fines and fees, while the cost of parking in Leeds saw the highest increase in the country – up 12% from the previous year.
Penalty Charge Notices (PCN’s) are around £24 outside of London and around £77 inside the capital. Moreover, while councils did put half of the money made back into services, the fines and fees amount to £58 a year for every driver.
The top 10 councils parking incomes are:
- Westminster £76.4m
- Kensington & Chelsea £46.1m
- Camden £38.1m
- Hammersmith & Fulham £35.6m
- Wandsworth £30.4m
- Islington £29.7m
- Lambeth £27.5m
- Haringey £25.4m
- Hackney £23.3m
- Ealing £21.4m
Appealing parking fees
This ludicrous case highlights a growing problem with the number of parking fines being issued around the UK. While there are situations where people are parking somewhere they are not permitted, there are also cases where the situation is much less clear-cut.
You need to have a ‘compelling reason’ when you appeal your penalty charge notice, for the local council to reconsider it. Some examples include:
- Penalty exceeded the amount that applied in the circumstances
- The incident did not happen
- The relevant traffic regulation order or TRO is invalid
- There’s a problem with the procedure the council uses
- You did not own the vehicle
Other compelling reasons could be used in Ollie’s example – he did have the parking permit, but the warden did not attempt to clear the window to look for it. Moreover, he could not be expected to keep leaving work to clear the windscreen in case a warden came around. However, this is a bit of a grey area because, under the same rules, drivers are expected to put a parking permit in a prominent position that can be displayed and seen at all times. A natural act of the weather covering the permit is a contentious issue. Inputting the number plate is an easy mistake, especially in cold weather and that Derby council apologised is appropriate.
Private parking tickets
The other type of parking fine we face is known as a private parking ticket. They are issued by non-public bodies such as supermarkets, hospitals and service stations. They are more difficult to enforce as the only way a company can do this is to take you to court.
They look similar to parking charge notices issued by local councils, and you have a 28-day period to pay them or face an increased fine. If you are unsure if the penalty is legitimate, you can challenge it with the company, and they should have a transparent appeals process laid out to follow.
The Government are looking at introducing new rules that would control and regulate the private parking permit market to ensure that drivers have more protection against unscrupulous firms who issue tickets as and when they like with impunity.
Sometimes we must hold up our hands and admit we were in the wrong with our choice of parking locations. However, in other cases, like Ollie’s, then appealing the fine is the best path to go down and the common sense shown by the council seemed appropriate.
I think everyone reading this should email Derby Council and ask for an explanation, quoting this article, as to how they could have allowed this to happen. Hopefully, with enough attention, the “unpleasant person” who issued the ticket will be sacked.
Here’s another possibility – maybe the parking attendant isn’t an “unpleasant person”, but just someone doing their job who made a simple mistake. Most of us have made mistakes at work at one time or another. It may be that they realise now what happened and regret a simple error. Derby Council are still dealing with the appeal, so perhaps it might be better to wait to see the outcome before calling for mass action to persecute an individual with the aim to make them lose their job. I’m not aware of anyone who can honestly say they’ve never made a simple mistake at work. Seems a bit harsh to be calling for someone to lose their livelihood before the case has even been settled.
The fine was clearly wrong and I expect the appeal will resolve it.
Sometimes I wonder if people who are quick to label others as “unpleasant individuals” shouldn’t reflect on their own character a little more before giving their opinions on the internet. Just a thought.
Big difference between ‘mistakes’ and ‘incompetence’
Jobs worth warden with no common sense. I know where I’d like to stick the permit.
Just shows the mentality of over zealous uniformed idiots getting paid to grab grab the motorist common sense they have not should be fired for incompetence
This parking warden must be thick He has enough time to issue a ticket but just a second to clear the snow and check. Money making stunts
This story is just media nonsense. To quote BBC News “Claxton, who works at the BBC, said: “Common sense has prevailed and the challenge has been upheld – I don’t have to pay £70, which is good news.”
He said a letter from the council explained it was an administrative error, because the official checked Mr Claxton’s number plate on a handheld device and it showed no permit was assigned to the car.
However, it later emerged the number plate had been recorded incorrectly, with the last digit stated as a zero not the letter “O”.
‘Just a mistake’
Thank you for the additional information. Your comments are helpful and well motivated – which is in contrast to many of the reactionary ones calling for sackings and being abusive to the parking warden and the council.
Good on you for taking the time to give us the facts and de-bunk the hyped media story.
Thank you for alerting us to this, we have updated the article now accordingly.
This so clearly shows how much of a money making machine transport has become for Local Authorities and the Traffic Agencies. Over zealous fines and increasing camera technology is no longer about limiting obstructions and for safety reasons, the motorist has just become more and more of a cash cow to top up decreasing budgets.
We have a Bus Gateway on Oxford Road in manchester which is rattling up fines for the council from motorists falling foul of bad signage… Now the council claims all fines are spent on the road in manchester, however a rumor has been circulating that when the council takes say £100,000 in fines it spends the fines on the road but… subtracts the £100,000 from the Roads/transport budget to be spent on the councilors pet projects.. like their expenses. Hence the spending on the roads receives no benefit whatsoever from these fines.
Typical lazy parking attendant. I once received a fine (which I successfully disputed) because the attendant could not be bothered to look on top of the dashboard where the ticket was clearly displayed.
I had a Saab 9-5 with a slightly curved windscreen and a clip to hold a parking ticket. A (Havering )Council warden took a photograph from the passenger side where just the edge of the ticket could be seen. Maybe a mistake, maybe incompetence, or maybe laziness / targets / malfeasance. When presented with the evidence – the valid ticket / the clip and an enlargement of their own photo, they still pursued it as hard as they could, and eventually informed me they were not taking the matter further – although at no time did they admit no offence had been commtted.
(Nor did they respond to my complaint)
Councils, etc, cannot fine anyone. Only courts can do that. If the council used the word “fine” in its notice (instead of, say, penalty charge), the notice itself was invalid – and may even be a contempt of court in certain circumstances.
Councils can issue fines as can the police but they are the only two authorities that can do so, all the parking firms can only issue notices that are actually nothing more than invoices, which are not enforceable in law and you won’t find the word ‘fine’ on any of their near – but not quite identical paperwork, (designed purely to intimidate) because they know they can’t get away with that trick, they have to use the word ‘penalty’ instead.
If the number was recorded wrongly, how did they know where to send the fine?
Am I missing something?
Number on council records for the permit was incorrect, the address would have been from the DVLA based on the registration plate on the car
It quite clearly says the traffic warden inputted the number wrong, not that the permit was wrong
re: “If the number was recorded wrongly, how did they know where to send the fine?
Am I missing something? –
“Yes, you are.
The reg number on the council’s database was recorded wrongly, so the warden could not get a match from the correct details on the vehicle’s plate to confirm the car/owner had a valid parking permit.
By using the correct number from the plate, a match would be received from the DVLA along with the registered keeper’s address, and a penalty notice issued from those details, in the same way any other parked vehicle without a permit would be traced and the owner issued with a penalty.
If the warden inputs the number incorrectly then how can the correct number be found to ascertain an address and if it is found then it would match with the permit. Something here does not add up.
They did not need to send the find anywhere, it gets stock on your vehicle.
It clearly says he received the fine in the post.
Few years back, used a pay & display in LB Hackney. Tried to purchase ticket from the machine that was jammed with coins, so left visible note on dashboard that had tried to pay. Disappointed on return to find parking ticket, but also there was a second but working machine hidden earlier by a commercial van! Purchased a ticket from that machine for period I was parked up, sent that off to council with explanation and they cancelled penalty immediately. Common sense (maybe I was lucky) can prevail.
Lucky. When I park and the machine is has a fault, I always take a photo of the machine displaying the fault message. That way if they try to issue a fine it won’t stand up in court. It is a legal fact you only have to demonstrate you made the effort to pay for parking, but were unable to for reason outside of your control. Faulty machines = free parking.
Yes I’ve had an unfair parking fine!
I had left PLENTY of time to get back to the car, but a person in a queue wanted to pay by cheque AFTER the no-cheques thing came in for shops. He spent ages arguing with the cashier and the security etc. That put me behind.
Then the next person had some other delay that involved something or other (it was a few years ago) and THAT put me behind.
I finally got out the store and I was 3 minutes over the ticket time, and the attendant was writing a ticket as I approached.
I told him the story of what happened, he wasn’t interested..
I appealed with copies of receipts and everything.
It got rejected.
Never had a parking ticket in my life before then.
It is not the parking attendant job to clear snow from the windscreen of cars to view tickets, as, if in doing so he should accidently damage the vehicle or the owner of the vehicle should make a fictitious claim for damage the council would be liable. The attitude of many posters is puzzling as I am sure they would be the first to complain if someone parked illegally blocking their way. Parking attendant do a job, if you do not want a ticket do not commit the offence.
Oh please! I get sick of hearing this crap;
if you do not want a ticket do not commit the offence.
Was this guy parked illegally?
It is not the parking attendant job to clear snow from the windscreen of cars to view tickets
So what is a driver to do when it is snowing then, stand there all day clearing the snow from in front of the permit just in case a nice warden comes around?
Thankfully, it seems as if, for once, common sense prevailed in this case. Parking fines are mainly one big money making scam. Sure, there are places where you shouldn’t be parking but a lot of double yellows are totally uneccessary. They are there to force you into P&D car parks.
In my local town there are double yellow lines around an empty block where a row of shops once stood. To park there now causes no inconvinience to anyone any more, yet every so often the traffic wardens descend to earn the council a bit more revenue. They could paint the lines out, but why would they?
And to all of the spelling police, I can’t be bothered to check so fill your boots and point them all out.
Lawrence, no offence was committed, the guy bought a ticket and displayed it on the window as required. The obligation is on the council to prove you did not buy a ticket.
Hi, Yes Paul, I know. I was replying to the guy above but the posts aren’t displayed exactly as typed so my post hasn’t come out quite as I would have liked.
The very valid point has been raised about how they are not supposed to touch a car in case of damage, (to clear snow in this case,) but have no problems slapping the ticket on your windscreen.
No offence was committed as the person had bought a ticket and took reasonable steps to ensure it was visible. The parking attendant how ever did not take reasonable step to ensure an offence was actually committed. Its like a traffic cop giving you a ticket without being bothered to measure your speed first.
Parking warden should have gone to Specsavers. Bloody little Hitler. The driver should issur proceedings to recover his yome costs in dealing with this issue. Derby should consider thenselves very lucky they didn’t pick on me.
re: “Parking warden should have gone to Specsavers. Bloody little Hitler. The driver should issur proceedings to recover his yome costs in dealing with this issue. Derby should consider thenselves very lucky they didn’t pick on me.”
Why, would you have sent them a rude, insulting and badly written missive full of spelling mistakes too?
What is “issur”, “yome”and thenselves? Maybe you should go to Specsavers too! Or was it a simple finger on keys mistake like the traffic warden made? (I make the same sort of mistakes, but I don’t threaten to sue the employers of other people who do).
Yes on a Sunday morning in Walthamstow. Helping my son shift flats, parked in the box. But pulled forward to stack items to the rear of the car
I was having mobility problems having just come out of hospital, so we took the items to the flat and had a coffee, came back to the parking fine. The front wheels where 18ins out of the box, We had to be back in Cornwall Monday so our son paid the fine, £70 the cost of the fuel for our visit to London. Disgusting warden in a photo van.
It’s not just the wheels that normally have to be ‘inside the box’ but also the overhang of the front and rear bumpers. On my car there is another 30 inches from the front of the tyre to the reg plate, so the total your car may have been outside the box could possibly be in the region of 4 feet / 48 inches.If you had just stacked the items on the pavement or moved your car back into position after taking the items into the flat, before stopping for coffee, you would most likely not have received a ticket.
Too many people blaming the warden, when it’s their own fault for knowingly flouting the rules and hoping they can get away with it.
I have an 83 year old friend who parked outside M&S in a disabled bay and placed her blue badge on the dashboard. However she didnt realise she still had to put her registration number in the machine to obtain her FREE 3 hours parking. She received an £80 penalty for this demeanor. I wrote on her behalf behalf to the Manager of the new M&S store in Trowbridge asking her to intervene , my letter was ignored !
The store had only recently opened and notices re parking were not sufficient and many tickets were cancelled. My friends ticket fell a week outside the cancellations and her ticket rapidly rose to £150.
I also wrote twice to Smart parking but they had no sympathy and placed it with solicitors Gladstones , a somewhat discredited organization constantly touting for parking and injury claim business.
I have written to Gladstones appealing for some empathy with this elderly lady , again no reply received.
Absolutely No-One cares . Disgraceful.
Join MSE and read this forum.
Read the Newbies Sticky thread at the top and follow the advice in there.
I was given a PCN for parking in an empty taxi rank on a Sunday afternoon just before 5pm.
When I saw the photographic evidence there was a photo of a non-existent vertical sign indicating that it was a 24 hour taxi rank. I appealed to the local council parking with my photographic evidence showing that there was no vertical sign as described anywhere in the street. It was obvious to anyone that the parking attendant had used a stock photo of this sign – in effect, lying.
My appeal was rejected, as was my next one. I indicated that I wished to appeal to the independent adjudicator. Shortly before I was due to appear in front of the adjudicator I was informed that the local council would not be contesting the case and that the PCN would not have to be paid.
Apart from the obvious lesson of being persistent if you know you are in the right, I would have liked to have had an apology from the council and that the parking attendant had been reprimanded and given a warning as to their behaviour. I realise that this is expecting pie in the sky, but I do understand why many people have such a low opinion of these parking attendants.
I had one declared void.
I followed the Money Saving Expert website for the procedure.
It took a year but eventually the case went to an appeal adjudicator who threw it out.
In short, they said : We need these £100 fines for cameras, signage and other admin.
You cant show that £100 of work went into this particular “offence”
So i won
The instructions which is stated that a parking warden shouldn’t touch a car ( like removing snow from a windscreen to check if a parking ticket is in place) is a load of rubbish the reason this wasn’t done is because he would have had to get his hands wet he should have used his head
( poor thing)
How do / did traffic wardens etc manage to place parking tickets under windscreen wipers without touching the vehicle?
Perhaps they are all trained in tele kinesis! But good point.
The question has to be asked how do they attach the ticket , if they don’t touch the car. As usual these council jobsworths a PATHOLOGICAL LIARS.
Simple solution. Scandinavians have a recognised area on the windscreen to display. (a new volvo may well have a clip fixed to the windshield in the correct place). So the warden need only clear a single glove swipe to see the permit.
I have a dry skin syndrome that makes using touch screens nearly impossible.
Last year i had such difficulty entering the reg at the Oxford P&R. After a que of six had waited, not so patiently, eventually someone noticed my problem and put the reg in for me.
I was so frustrated, I wont use the Oxford P&R so Oxford losses out on my business.
Quite clear the number plate has been cleared.
My question is where did the parking attendant put the ticket?? Against the screen which meant wiping away the snow…..so couldn’t he/she have done that to check for a permit?
As pert he article, it was received the pisry
I received a penalty notice from the parking company UKCPS for parking and not displaying a permit. The owners of the car park had already emailed UKCPS advising them that my car would be parked there and not displaying a permit but was authorised. UKCPS still issued a ticket stating that having a ‘valid authorisation does not allow me to park’
Three days later the same company issued another ticket to me for parking in a disabled bay. The only problem I had with it was that the road I parked on is policed by the local council and more importantly, there are no disabled bays on the street. Despite these little facts, UKCPS are threatening legal action against me. Bring it on
UKCPS gave me a ticket in Homebase, while I was in the store with my niece having a 4k kitchen designed, (which is quite involved). They say I overstayed by 10 mins. They threatened me with all sorts, even Homebase said they couldn’t intervene because UKCPS owned the carpark, Laughable, none of those scam operators own any carparks, so I threatened Homebase with legal action for harassment whilst also begging UKCPS to take me to court (as they kept threatening. Anyway, I ignored all further letters and eventually they gave up and also eventually Homebase apologised. (My niece spent her 4k elsewhere). These private firms are scammers, just ignore them.
Allegedly…Son had a friend sitting in car. A white van was parked in front. It was the clampers van. One male distracted friend in the car. Another male crawled along the pavement and clamped the vehicle with a person in the vehicle. When my son and friend argued the clampers threatened to increase fine to either £300 or 400.
Son appealed and was rejected.
On a day out with our disabled son we parked in a disabled bay behind Covent garden, not noticing a sign about ten feet up on a wall, that it was a dedicated bay for a resident. We were away about an hour and on return found a ticket.
The ticket had a time of issue placing it five minutes before we arrived..
The warden failed to realise the first thing a blue badge holder does, is check the time for the cardboard clock issued with the badge. I can only assume the warden watched as we unloaded ourselves and the wheelchair . If a wardens job is to prevent congestion and smooth the flow of traffic why did he not approach us then to keep the bay clear? Otherwise he was a liar. With photo I made a successful appeal but Council letter told me not to do it again, with no mention of the wardens behaviour. I now always take a photo of badge and clock with my phone as it records time taken.
I sometimes wonder, not at the wardens, but the councils who employ these simpletons.
My work necessitates regular and frequent visits to a branch of B & Q, sometimes several times a day. I received a parking fine for exceeding the permitted time in the multi shop use car park. I assume that the camera caught me going in on one visit and out on another as 2 hours free parking is allowed and I have never been in the car park for more than 30 minutes. I am currently awaiting the result of my appeal.
Call me finicky but
1.. The warden is said to have checked if the car was registered with a permit. It was not his fault that the central records showed it did not, so he was correct to issue a ticket.
2. Perhaps more significantly.. the car in the photograph doesn’t even have a British number plate! Artistic licence on the part of the media?
Few years ago I returned to my car 2 mins late due to my 8 months pregnant wife having to have a short rest double due to the heat to find a warden just writing a ticket. When I explained why she just said * oh dear my daughter is also pregnant* and continued to write the ticket. Later on that month she stopped a car which had just stopped not parked on double yellow lines i.e. exceeding her authority.
here;s a test
Her’es another test