Annual Parking Report 2018 to 2019

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Last updated: 02 October 2019


The legislative framework for local authorities to carry out parking enforcement changed on 31 March 2008 when Part Six of the Traffic Management Act 2004 (TMA), replaced parts of the Road Traffic Act 1991. The Department for Transport (DfT) introduced the TMA to improve public perceptions of parking enforcement by providing greater consistency of nationwide parking regulations and providing a fairer and more transparent system.

The TMA required a number of changes to parking enforcement practice, which covered the terminology and documentation used, and the processing of PCNs. It also placed additional responsibilities on authorities to publish information regarding parking enforcement, including an Annual Report.

Buckinghamshire is a two-tier non-metropolitan county. In such an arrangement, the district councils (Aylesbury Vale district, Chiltern district, South Bucks district and Wycombe district) are responsible for most off-street parking provision and will produce their own Annual Report on their parking activities. Buckinghamshire County Council is responsible for all on-street parking enforcement and a small number of County Council owned car parks.

This is Buckinghamshire County Council’s Annual Parking and Enforcement Report for the 2018/19 financial year. The report covers primarily on-street parking activity.

Four broad areas are covered in the report:

  • introduction and context
  • what's new
  • in the future
  • reviews and monitoring

See more information on parking in Buckinghamshire.

The purpose of parking regulations and why they are enforced

This annual report sets out the important facts and figures of the county council's parking and enforcement activity but it is important also to bear in mind why the county council needs to manage parking in the first place.

Parking controls play an important part in our transport strategy by regulating the amount of traffic within the county, maintaining a safe highway network, and encouraging the use of public transport.

The purpose of this document

This document focuses on parking and enforcement issues and the new schemes and processes that we believe will offer a better service to our customers. We will be publishing our parking and enforcement report each year to keep the local community and other interested parties abreast of any changes that we have made, and any we are considering for the future.

Our parking policy principles are summarised in our 'Vision for Parking' which was formally adopted by the county council in October 2016:

  1. Provide parking where possible
  2. Control parking where necessary
  3. Enforce parking fairly
  4. Operate parking efficiently and cost effectively

We believe that parking issues affect everyone who uses our streets, not only car users. There are more vehicles on the highway network, demand for parking is increasing and we seek to maintain a balance between the different demands - from residents, businesses and visitors, whilst ensuring there is good access for pedestrians, cyclists, buses and other vehicles.

Our general policy is to provide the maximum number of car parking spaces while allowing the satisfactory and safe movement of traffic and the maintenance of a good quality environment.


Parking in Buckinghamshire

Parking enforcement

The county council decriminalised parking enforcement in partnership with the district councils in a phased approach starting with Wycombe district in 1997, Aylesbury Vale district in 2003, Chiltern district in 2005, South Bucks district (highway) 2003 (off-street) 2017.

In 2011 the county council centralised the operation of parking enforcement and engaged a specialised enforcement contractor (NSL Ltd) to provide contracted Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs), to enforce all waiting, loading and parking restrictions throughout the county highway network. The district councils retained the management and enforcement of their off-street car parks.

We expect CEOs to act in a consistent and professional manner and to treat all motorists equally, without showing favour, bias or prejudice.

When finding a vehicle is parked in contravention of a parking restriction, it is the duty of a CEO to issue a PCN to that vehicle. CEOs have no powers to subsequently cancel or withdraw a PCN.

In addition to parking enforcement, CEOs provide advice and guidance to the public, inform the police of suspected criminal activity and report suspected abandoned vehicles, untaxed vehicles, faults with parking equipment and missing/faded road markings and missing/damaged signs. They act as our 'eyes and ears' on the street and their high profile, uniformed patrols help to deter antisocial behaviour.

Suspensions and dispensations

We appreciate that suspending parking can be inconvenient to motorists, particularly in areas where parking demand is high but we have to suspend parking spaces for a variety of reasons including building works, furniture removals, utility and highways works and special events.

We operate a fee structure that charges for a suspension to encourage greater thought to the amount of time and space they need.

The PCN appeals process

When a PCN is issued the owner/keeper of the vehicle is legally obliged to pay the penalty charge. They are encouraged to do so by the offer of a 50% discount if they pay within the first 14 days.

Vehicle owners may dispute the issuing of a PCN at three stages:

  • they can make an informal ‘challenge’ or ‘representation’ before the Council issues a Notice to Owner (NtO).
  • once an NtO has been served, they can make a formal representation against the NtO (this can still be done if an informal challenge has previously been made and rejected). Legislation sets out specific grounds for formal representations against the NtO. Whether or not those grounds apply, formal representations may also be made on the basis that, in the particular circumstances of the case, there are mitigating reasons for cancellation.
  • we will issue a Notice of Rejection if the formal representation is rejected. The vehicle owner then has the right to appeal within 28 days to an independent adjudicator of the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. The adjudicators have a judicial status: they are appointed with the agreement of the Lord Chancellor and they are wholly independent. Their decisions are legally binding and final on both parties and they have the power to award costs against either party.
    After this, no further challenges can be made, other than on a point of law through an application to the High Court for Judicial Review.

View full details of the adjudication service and of the appeals process.


Our policy background

Vision for parking

This document continues to set out our aims and objectives and feeds into the Local Transport Plan. It was formally adopted in October 2016.

Parking Guide for LAFs

This is a revised and simplified guide for councillors and Local Area Forums on local parking schemes, possible options and the process from design to implementation.

The Guide replaces the old Members Parking Toolkit. It was adopted in March 2017.


Review of 2018/19

Works undertaken during 2018/19

  • Introduced parking sensors in Marlow for enforcement of limited waiting bays
  • Introduced new Marlow and Bourne End Highway code schemes
  • Introduced new restrictions in Taplow
  • Assisting with Blue Badge enforcement operations in conjunction with Communities team
  • Introduced virtual permits for residents parking schemes
  • Introduced new restrictions in the Wycombe District Area
  • Trialled extra enforcement patrols funded by parishes
  • Progressed a number of parking schemes funded by our Local Area Forums
  • Repainted/refreshed areas of Marlow, Wycombe and Amersham
  • Introduced a cashless parking alternative for pay and display in Aylesbury
  • Introduced a new suite of performance indicators for our enforcement contractor

Parking appeals

The 2018/19 statistics from the Traffic Penalty Tribunal show 31.9% of appeals were not upheld. This independent score is a key indicator for the Parking Service and is a slight improvement from the previous year of 33%.

We will continue working with our enforcement contractor to improve this performance further.


In the future

Parking Operations

Our upgraded parking IT system allows us to introduce and develop online services throughout 2019/20. Our aim is to make the best use of resource using technology.

  • After the successful trial we will introduce cashless parking alternatives to pay and display across the county for on-street parking
  • If the parking sensor trial in Marlow proves successful it would be rolled out to a number of limited waiting areas across the county
  • Introduce staff location tracking systems for safety of staff and to increase deployment efficiency
  • Implementing a number of new development schemes across the county working closely with our Highways Development Management team
  • Review of on-street parking in Burnham and Taplow, investigating various solutions to a range of complaints
  • Subject to funding, a full review of south west High Wycombe to address issues caused by displacement of cars from Cressex Business Park and the town centre
  • Preparation, led by Regulatory Workstream, for the change to Unitary status in FY 2020/21. This work will include consolidation of orders to combine the parking work of all five authorities

Parking policy

  • We will review the types of permit and the permit pricing structure
  • We will review the on-street tariff charges
  • We will review the current Parking Delivery Plan and change where needed for best practice and legislation in line with transition to a Unitary authority

Statistics, financial information, reviews and monitoring

Financial statistics

The council is required by the Road Traffic Reduction Act 1985 (s55) to operate a ring-fenced parking account.

It is necessary to set up the parking account in this way since any surplus generated can be spent only on certain allowable transport, parking, and highways related activities, as specified by law, and accounted for separately to show transparency.

Parking income and expenditure

Although the council sets the level of permit and pay and display charges, the level of penalty charge notices are set nationally. The highest proportion of income is from motorists parking in contravention and from visitor parking, reflecting the demand for these facilities.

Penalty charges

The amount a council may charge for a PCN outside London is set by The Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (Guidelines on Levels of Charges) (England) Order 2007.

The Band 2 penalty charges were set at:

  • Higher rate - £70 reduced to £35 if paid within 14 days
  • Lower rate - £50 reduced to £25 if paid within 14 days

The higher rate applies to more serious offences such as parking on zig-zags. The lower rate would be for lesser offences such as an overstay.

These charges have not increased by the DfT since 2007.

Payment of PCNs

If a vehicle owner pays a PCN within 14 days of the date of issue, a 50 per cent discount applies.

Representations that we receive within the initial 14-day period can result in us cancelling a PCN, but if we decide not to cancel the PCN, we re offer the discount for a further 14 days from the decision date for payment to be made at the reduced rate.

PCN recovery rate

Recovery rate is calculated as the number of PCNs paid (in part or in full) as a percentage of PCNs issued.

Our recovery rates were: 69.1% in 2018/19 up from 68.4% in 2017/18. This has resulted from increasing the number of bailiffs companies used and more effective auditing.

PCNs issued on-street

Type 2017/18 2018/19
No. Higher level issued 29,852 32,744
No. Lower level issued 10,363 9,997
Total number of PCNs paid 27,507 29,516
No. of PCNs paid at discount 23,094 13,682*
No. of PCNs paid at face value 4,413 15,834*
No. of PCNs paid at charge certificate 590 1,604
No. of PCNs where representation made 6,192 9,336
No. of PCNs cancelled as a result of representation (mitigation) 674 902
No. of PCNs cancelled for other reasons 3,888 408
No. of representations rejected 5,518 7,652

PCNs issued off-street

Type 2017/18 2018/19
No. Higher level issued 442 54
No. Lower level issued 2,176 1,793
Total number of PCNs paid 1,340 1,158
No. of PCNs paid at discount 1,082 460*
No. of PCNs paid at face value 258 698*
No. of PCNs paid at charge certificate 36 97
No. of PCNs where representation made 833 658
No. of PCNs cancelled as a result of representation (mitigation) 41 361
No. of PCNs cancelled for other reasons 622 17
No. of representations rejected 211 280

*This is a result of migration of data to a new software system. Migrated data is interpreted as face value, rather than the original value.

Appeals and adjudication statistics

Appeals and adjudication 2017/18 2018/19
No. of appeals received 114 113
Ratio of appeals to PCNs issued 0.27% 0.25%
Appeals not contested 12 20
Appeals allowed by adjudicator 39 39
Appeals refused by adjudicator 52 50

Performance statistics

We use a number of key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor the performance of our enforcement contractor monthly. The full suite of KPIs were updated in 2018/19 to give more challenging targets in order to help improve performance and give better management control and to highlight any performance issues.
The following indicators are reported annually in accordance with DfT guidelines:

Type 2017/18 2018/19
CEO errors 0.44% 0.53%
Complaints against CEOs 0 2
P&D machine maintenance 100% 99%

Whilst performance has dropped slightly, they are still within the levels agreed. The CEO error change is a result of an increase in new CEOs.

Parking on-street account


Type 2017/18 (£'000) 2018/19 (£'000)
Pay And Display (514.1) (593.1)
Resident permit income (141.5) (194.1)
Dispensations / Suspensions (52.3) (53.3)
PCN income (1,102.0) (1,310.6)
Total income (1,809.9) (2,151.1)


Type 2017/18 (£'000) 2018/19 (£'000)
Parking Team direct costs (management and reps and appeals) 228.3 398.1**
TfB contract overhead 273.9 32.0
Transport related costs 0 0
Signing and lining 71.6 41.0
Capital investment in car parking 169.2 174.5
Adjudication and court registration 17.5 8.9
Parking enforcement contracted services 1,543.8 1,890.3***
Total expenditure 2,304.3 2,544.8
(-) Surplus (+) deficit 494.4 393.7

**£227,453 TfB staff costs plus £170,686 reps and appeals staff costs (previously TfB costs included in overhead cost).

***Total SAP cost for NSL is £1,939.6k which includes £49,200 off-street enforcement cost (reported below).

Parking off-street account

Any surplus income from Civil Parking Enforcement must be spent on Transport related activities as stated in the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (s55)

Income & Expenditure related to enforcement

Type 2017/18 (£'000) 2018/19 (£'000)
PCN income (Waterside North and Country Parks) (43.0) (39.3)
Parking enforcement contracted services (est) 49.2 49.2
Net (surplus) / deficit on enforcement activities 6.2 9.9

Parking account deficit

The parking account shows an overall deficit which requires a transfer from general funds to cover the deficit


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