Annual Parking Report 2020/21
Our Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) schemes
The Traffic Management Act 2004 (TMA) allows councils, which are also local traffic authorities, to apply to the Secretary of State for Transport to introduce a civil enforcement area. This allows the decriminalising of parking enforcement, known as Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE), moving the responsibility for management and enforcement from the police to the local authority.
This means councils can undertake enforcement of all parking restrictions in their area and retain the income received from parking charges and penalties to fund the costs of parking services. Any resulting surplus is used to support local transport schemes, as set under the legislation. You can read more about how the surplus has been spent in the finance section of the report.
Civil parking enforcement (CPE) schemes in East Sussex
We have four CPE schemes in East Sussex. They cover Hastings Borough where a scheme started in 1999, Lewes District since 2004, Eastbourne Borough since 2008 and more recently, Rother District which started in September 2020.
Aims of our Civil Parking Enforcement schemes
The effective management of parking not only addresses local parking problems, it helps achieve some of the broader transport objectives set out in our Local Transport Plan (LTP3). These include
- improving road safety,
- achieving better flows of traffic through town centres,
- health and security,
- improving quality of life,
- encouraging the use of more sustainable modes of transport
- reducing damage to the environment, and
- improving the economic viability of areas through the efficient management and use of parking spaces.
We have adapted and changed how we work, including deploying from home and trialling electric bicycles. The bikes help with our enforcement of Camber as at times the traffic in and out can be at a standstill and we are not adding to this pressure. They are also used in our other civil parking enforcement areas, being particularly beneficial in Hastings due to the geographical layout of the parking zones. The main benefits are that they are environmentally friendly, and they help reduce response times by having more of the team mobile.
Impacts on our team and service delivery
Over the last twelve months the team adapted how we work to the Covid restrictions in place. Whilst working away from offices and moving to a new virtual way of working. The team have continued to deliver and make improvements to our service, whilst also supporting other teams within the council.
To help support the Council’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we assisted the adult social care and children’s services departments by making calls to residents of East Sussex that had been advised by the government to shield.
Between April and July, we contacted over 4,000 shielding residents to check on their welfare and to offer further help and support where it was needed.
Volunteering and supporting other services
In addition to making calls to the residents of East Sussex that were shielding, five members of the team also volunteered to help other teams and services. They included
- Two members of the team working, on a rota, in the Covid-19 Virtual Emergency Control Centre.
- One member of the team assisted the NHS.
- One member of the team assisted the Sussex Resilience Forum.
- One member of the team assisted the Registration Service.
Impacts on NSL and service delivery
As with all services, lockdowns and social distancing rules meant our enforcement team had to adapt and change quickly to meet the guidance. Parking enforcement continued throughout all lockdowns to reduce congestion and maintain traffic flow and access which remained critical for front line workers and emergency vehicles. The team concentrated enforcement on high traffic flow areas whilst also responding to complaints from members of public.
Household waste and recycling sites
In May 2020 lockdown restrictions eased and household waste sites started to open as an essential service across the county. To support with managing the high volume of visitors at these sites, which had reduced capacity due to social distancing restrictions, 10 civil enforcement officers were deployed to seven sites. They worked with colleagues from the East Sussex Waste Team and East Sussex Highways, to assist with traffic management.
Changes to parking charges
In the last year we made changes to our on-street parking and permit charges for the first time in over a decade. In Eastbourne and Hastings the charges were last increased in 2008 and in Lewes in 2007.
Parking charges are an important part of managing the demand for kerbside parking and influencing driver behaviour, to encourage use of alternative sustainable forms of transport. As our parking charges had remained the same for a number of years, they were having a reduced impact on influencing travel choices.
In July and August 2019, we carried out consultation on proposed changes to parking charges. View the full details of the consultation on parking charges.
The Key changes we consulted on were:
- Standardising the price of residents’ permits across Lewes, Eastbourne and Hastings for the first time.
- Linking the cost of residents’ permits to the CO2 emissions of pollution from the vehicle the permit covers, with owners of low emission vehicles paying less than those with higher emissions.
- That the cost of visitor and day permits should be higher in all three scheme areas to encourage people to make more sustainable travel choices.
- Increasing the cost of on-street pay and display charges to encourage people to use alternative sustainable forms of transport, which will help reduce congestion and improve air quality in our towns.
- Targeted increases in on-street parking charges in a small number of locations where nearby car park prices have higher charges than on-street prices. This will help encourage people to use car parks first and minimise the pressure on on-street parking in these locations.
After the consultation responses had been fully reviewed and considered, a report was presented to the Lead Member for Transport and Environment. The proposals were approved in January 2020. Details of the report and minutes of the Lead Member meeting are available on our website.
The changes were originally planned to take effect on 27 April, but due the national lockdown this was postponed to July.
Introducing Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) in Rother
Consultation and implementation
At a Cabinet meeting on 26 June 2018, we welcomed the request from Rother District Council to introduce CPE across the district. An application seeking powers to implement CPE was made to the Department for Transport (DfT) on 31 July 2019. DfT formally accepted the application in March 2020 and the legal bill was laid before parliament in September 2020 with the start of enforcement on 29 September 2020.
In preparation for the CPE scheme, an informal consultation was carried out in November 2018 through to January 2019 which included holding public exhibitions. A formal consultation took place in September 2019. The results of both consultations have been published on the consultation hub.
For the formal consultation, approximately 11,000 letters were delivered to local addresses and the consultation was placed on our consultation hub for any member of the public to comment. 544 items of correspondence were received. These included 1,103 objections from 437 objectors with 107 items of support. These were reported to Planning Committee on 15 January 2020. The report, minutes and a webcast of the meeting are available on our website.
Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) started enforcement on 29 September 2020. Despite the pandemic the CEOs have enforced all the way through lockdown and social distancing restrictions.
In parking enforcement, we do so much more than enforce parking restrictions. One of the best parts of what we do is being part of the community we work in and dealing with the unexpected.
First aid training and responding
Our three customer stake holder managers attend monthly Joint Action Group (JAG) meetings. The meetings are attended by several community groups and local agencies, such as the police, neighbourhood first, fire service and local councillors. The aim of the group is tackling crime and anti-social behaviour. They are an excellent way for everyone involved to work together and gain intelligence on local issues. Through these meetings we have been able to identify where training for Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) can further assist in the community that does not always relate to parking.
Following updates shared through the JAG meetings, around mental health, mental health awareness training was given to all of the CEOs. Below are just a few examples of where our CEOs have shown true community spirit and how investing in appropriate training can make a real difference.
The mental health awareness training proved invaluable when a CEO came across a person in distress, who explained they were very depressed and wanted to end their life. The CEO put his training into action whilst waiting for the appropriate support and help arrived, only leaving the location when the person was safe.
To expand on the mental health awareness training the CEOs were offered suicide first aid training. This again proved invaluable when a CEO came across a person who had taken an overdose. The CEO noticed the person sitting on the ground and, from the training, had the confidence to approach them. After establishing what had happened the CEO called an ambulance and then sat with the person, talking and listening until help arrived.
Further first aid training was put into use when our supervisor witnessed an accident. Stopping in a safe place, she instructed a member of the public to call emergency services whilst she attended to a driver. She calmly managed the situation until emergency services arrived.
Helping the community
As well as helping members of the community in moments of crisis, some more examples of how we helped are included below.
- Assisted with finding lost children and pets
- Assisted owners or drivers of vehicles that had keys left in ignition, broken down or been vandalised.
- Fixed bicycle chains that had come off or seized up.
- Contacted emergency services for people that are injured or unwell, staying with them until appropriate help arrives. And, escorting people home, to appointments or safe places when they have become lost or confused.
- Contacted the police when witnessing fights and criminal damage to a library.
- Returned lost wallets and purses.
- Rescued wildlife. The pictures below are of a squirrel that a civil enforcement officer found hanging from the front grill of a car. We were able to contact the vehicle owner and, with their help, the squirrel was safely removed and taken back to the office for some rest before being re-released into the wild.
We carry out regular reviews of parking restrictions in the County, we welcome and encourage everyone to take part in the review process. All our parking reviews start by considering requests made to us. If you think there should be changes to current restrictions or want new restrictions, please fill in the form on our website. It captures all the necessary information to make a request.
It is normal to receive large numbers of requests for new parking restrictions or changes to existing ones in the reviews. To make effective use of our budgets it will not be possible to progress every request so each one is prioritised.
Requests for new parking bays, for example permit only, need to be supported by the other residents or businesses in the road or area. If you are requesting parking bays, it always helps your request if you are able to show that it is supported. You can do this by asking those in support to complete our online form to request a change to the parking scheme. Or you could collate a letter with many signatures which includes the full name and address of each resident signing it.
The pandemic affected our ability to carry out some parts of the current reviews, for example public consultations. This meant they took place later than planned and has also meant that the next reviews will be delayed.
The formal consultation for the Lewes review took place in March 2021, 835 packs were sent out.
The 2019 Eastbourne review was completed, and the new controls were installed in summer 2020. National restrictions in place at the time prevented the traffic regulation order from being sealed until April 21.
The prioritisation for the Hastings 2020/21 review was completed, with the informal consultation due May 2021.
Updates about our current reviews for Lewes, Hastings and Eastbourne are on our website.
Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) (temporary and permanent)
TROs are legal documents which may be made to control or restrict the use of the highway either temporarily or permanently.
Permanent TROs are used to make permanent changes such as introducing resident permit parking schemes or double yellow lines. Temporary TROs are used when there are scheduled short term works such as resurfacing or utility works.
Although the pandemic restricted the processing of permanent TROs, during the period from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, we processed 593 Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders (TTROs). 1143 Public Notices were advertised alongside the TTROs.
Access Protection Markings (APMs) and disabled bays
We provide disabled parking bays to Blue Badge Holders where there is a proven hardship caused by being regularly unable to park near their property. Provision of the bay is not automatic. Applicants must hold a valid Blue Badge, have a permanent and substantial disability, which means being unable to walk, or have considerable difficulty in walking any distance, and not have a suitable off-street area available to park
In 2020, 114 disabled bay applications were received. 46 were installed and 28 were removed as they were no longer needed.
An APM is a white line painted in front of a kerb which has been lowered to allow vehicle access, for example driveways. APMs are not legally enforceable but can help deter inconsiderate parking which restricts or blocks access.
In 2020, 129 queries were received, 126 APM applications were made and 75 were installed.
Last year we introduced online application forms to allow people to apply for disabled bays and APMs on our website.
There are five bus lane cameras in Eastbourne at two locations within the town centre. These will enforce the stretch of bus lane on Terminus Road between Gildredge Road and Cornfield Road as well as the bus lane that runs the length of Gildredge Road.
Only buses are allowed in the Gildredge Road bus lane, with the Terminus Road bus lane allowing buses all day and taxis between the hours of midnight and 5am.
Delays with the Town Centre Improvement Scheme has affected the start of enforcement of bus lane penalty charge notices (PCNs) but we are hoping to start enforcement early 2022.
When this goes live, any vehicle in contravention of the bus lanes will receive a PCN by post. The charge will be £60, reduced to £30 if paid within the discounted period.
Blue badge misuse
As part of their work, Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) also make sure that blue badges are being used correctly and have the authority to remove any that are being misused. Examples of misuse are that the badge has expired, someone else is using the badge without the holder being present, or the holder is deceased.
It is vital that blue badges are only used by the person provided with one to ensure their access and needs are met. 12 blue badges were seized by CEOs because the blue badge was being misused. This was much lower than previous years due to the lockdowns. If you would like to report misuse of a blue badge you can do this by email to email@example.com or telephone on 01323 466508.
The Covid-19 pandemic, social restrictions and lockdowns meant that we saw substantial changes in the types and number of permits we sell.
Unlike other types of permits and penalty charge notices, in 2020/21 we saw an increase in the number of resident permits we issue.
In Rother this is related to the implementation of the civil parking enforcement scheme. Whilst in Eastbourne, Hastings and Lewes this was likely related to Covid-19, with the lockdowns meaning more people were at home during the day when the permit restrictions apply.
All other types of permits 2020-2021
Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs)
Our approach to parking enforcement is to make sure that it is carried out fairly and consistently. To help achieve this, Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) are instructed to issue a PCN to any vehicle they see parked in contravention. When issuing a PCN it is issued to a vehicle and not a person.
We are often asked why a CEO did not go into a local business or property to ask the driver to move their vehicle before issuing a PCN. This would be showing discretion and is not consistent or fair to other motorists. Additionally, CEOs do not have any information about who the vehicle owner is or where they live or might be visiting.
PCNs issued by month
PCNs issued by contravention code
The amount of PCN’s paid in Eastbourne and Hastings was approximately 4% less than PCN’s paid the previous year, although Lewes paid PCN’s were up almost 2%, both on street and off.
PCNs challenged and appealed
Our Notice Processing Team received 8,675 items of correspondence related to the 28,354 PCNs issued. This is less than the previous year, due to less PCNs issued because of the Covid-19 travel restrictions implemented.
Summary of PCNs paid, challenged and appealed
Of the 28,354 PCNs issued:
- 20,728 were paid.
- 1,853 were cancelled.
- 112 written off
- 5,661 remain open and unresolved.
- 42 cases were appealed to the independent adjudication service, TPT.
PCNs cancelled by reason
PCNs appealed to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT)
The TPT is the independent adjudication service which considers appeals against PCNs. This can only happen after a PCN has reached a formal representation and it has been rejected.
After both parties have submitted evidence to TPT, a decision will be made on the evidence provided or a hearing can be requested.
Adjudicators will either allow the appeal meaning the PCN will be cancelled, or dismiss the appeal where the PCN remains payable.
If appropriate following decisions, we will review and change how we enforce restrictions or deal with future challenges.
Further details about TPT are available at their website www.trafficpenaltytribunal.gov.uk
There were 42 PCNs appealed to the TPT. The results of the appeals, by area, are shown in the chart below.
In addition to customers contacting us about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) that have been issued, we receive a large number of non PCN related parking enquiries. We had 870 customer contacts this year, which is a similar number to last year. The chart below shows the breakdown of the types of contact we received.
In addition to the above correspondence, we also sent out 1,364 consultation packs, received 295 online review requests, installed 76 access protection marking and 28 disabled bays
The total income from the parking schemes in 2020/21 was £3,905,421 this was nearly £1 million less than the year before. This was because of the effects Covid-19 lockdowns and movement restrictions had on day permit and Pay and Display income. After the expenditure this meant there was no contribution made to parking surplus and resulted in a deficit of £54,362. This also impacted the support available for the bus networks and concessionary fares. The table below details the income and expenditure for 2020/21. Also commitments and investments made from the parking surplus.