New civil parking enforcement (CPE) for Cherwell, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse
Parking offences that would typically be enforced by the police will become Oxfordshire County Council's (OCC) responsibility.
In this article 'we' refers to OCC.
Follow the links below for more info:
- The new special enforcement areas
- Why we need civil parking enforcement
- Offences we will be responsible for
- Administration of parking schemes
- Reporting illegally parked vehicles
- Reviewing parking restrictions
- Parking myths
We have made an application to create new special enforcement areas (SEAs) in partnership with Cherwell, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils. This means parking offences in those areas typically be enforced by the police become the responsibility of Oxfordshire County Council.
These parking violations will become civil offences. In Oxfordshire, enforcement will apply for on-street parking (roads and highways).
The changes will result in increased, more consistent enforcement of waiting and loading restrictions, double parking offences and dropped kerb obstructions. There is already civil parking enforcement in Oxford City and West Oxfordshire.
The new enforcement starts on 1 November 2021.
Why we need civil parking enforcement
Management of waiting and loading restrictions will help us in our wider transport objectives to:
- reduce blocking of major routes by incorrectly parked vehicles
- reduce parking in disabled bays by non-badge holders
- improve traffic management and parking restrictions
- encourage safe parking
- reduce congestion and improve air quality
- help emergency services and public transport.
All towns and villages where there are traffic regulation orders in place will be patrolled. We will focus on areas where illegal parking is having the most impact on road safety and congestion.
We will be responsible for all on-street enforcement of parking restrictions and issue a parking fine (PCN) to vehicles that are parked in contravention of existing restrictions. Under the new arrangement, our existing enforcement contractor will extend its operations to issue fines in the new areas. Challenges and appeals will be dealt with by our existing inhouse team.
There are two levels of fine/penalty charge:
- £70 for more serious offences such as parking on yellow lines
- £50 for less serious offences such as overstaying in a limited waiting bay
You will only have to pay half the charge if you pay within the shorter time shown on your penalty charge notice (PCN). After this time, the full amount is due.
Offences we will be responsible for
As well as permit holder parking and on-street pay and display parking, we will also responsible for enforcing:
- Double and single yellow lines
- Limited waiting bays
- Loading bays
- Zig-zag markings at schools (if restrictions apply)
- Pedestrian crossings
- Double parking (parking too far from the kerb)
- Blue Badge bays
- Taxi ranks
- Parking in bus lanes and stops
- Parking across dropped kerbs where there's a crossing point, with or without tactile paving
In some areas, there are local agreements in place with town councils to enforce parking places including pay and display bays and permit holder bays. These agreements will come to an end and we will be responsible for on-street enforcement.
Enforcement officers are permitted to inspect any Blue Badge displayed in a vehicle. If a badge is being misused a fine will be issued and may result in the badge being revoked or prosecution. If an offence is detected that would merit the seizure of the badge, then authorisation would be requested from the council.
Offences we won't responsible for
The police will continue to be responsible for dealing with:
- dangerously parked vehicles including where there are no parking restrictions in place such as on bends, brows of hills and junctions
- obstruction offences - pavement with no parking restrictions
- moving traffic offences including double white lines, one-way traffic, white hatched areas and box junctions.
You can report these issues to the police by calling 101.
Car parks remain the responsibility of district and town councils.
Parking across dropped kerbs where there's a crossing point and tactile paving, double parking or parking too far from the kerb and parking on zig-zag markings at pedestrian crossings can be enforced by both us and the police.
!WarningYou should always follow the Highway Code and where restrictions apply there will be signs or lines to inform you of the restrictions that apply. Failure to comply may result in a fine.
Administration of parking schemes
From 1 November, we will take responsibility for the administration of permits and enforcement for existing permit holder bays within the new special enforcement areas. This includes locations in Henley-on-Thames, Abingdon and Bicester. Permits issued before this date will remain valid until expiry, but for new applications or renewals, applications can be made through our permit pages.
Reporting illegally parked vehicles
You can report areas and incidents of illegal parking using our online form.
Officers will investigate and will take enforcement action as required.
Reviewing parking restrictions
The improvement in enforcement will create opportunities for changes and new schemes such as residents only parking (controlled parking zone).
Requests will be prioritised. Initially, we will log interest and understand the level of resources required. Successful proposals will need funding and any start-up costs would need to be externally funded through either the parish/town, district councils or via developer contributions.
To register support and interest for formal parking restrictions or changes to existing lines use the form at this link. Tell us whether funding has been identified or whether consultations have been carried out with residents.
Council cabinets to consider Civil Parking Enforcement proposals
A major change aimed at helping to prevent illegal parking could move a step closer in the Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire this week.
At their respective meetings on 3 and 4 December, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils' cabinets will consider whether to move forward with proposals for Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) which could see responsibility for enforcement transfer from the police to a new team managed by Oxfordshire County Council.
Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire District Councils enforce parking in their own off-street car parks. However, enforcement for on-street parking in both districts is carried out by the police. This can put unnecessary extra pressure on police resources and leave parking problems unresolved as the police focus on more serious crimes.
Local councils can apply to the government to take on powers for Civil Parking Enforcement which allows them to fine motorists who park illegally or drive in bus lanes.
The two councils have been working alongside Oxfordshire County Council and Cherwell District Council to investigate the feasibility of implementing CPE arrangements within their three districts. This work has included commissioning a specialist parking consultant to investigate the potential benefits, challenges, and financial requirements of the scheme.
In order to implement CPE, cabinets at all three districts need to agree to move forward with the proposals. The councils would then collectively ask Oxfordshire County Council to submit a joint CPE application to the government for approval.
CPE is already in place in Oxford city centre and in West Oxfordshire. If the application is approved by the government, parking enforcement on-street in South and Vale would then be carried out by a new team managed by Oxfordshire County Council.
Cabinet members at Vale and South Oxfordshire will now decide whether to approve the proposals and therefore ask the county council to move forward and submit the application to the government.
They will also confirm the financial contribution that the councils will need to make in order to support the formal application to the Department for Transport to implement Civil Parking Enforcement in their respective districts.
If all three districts agree then CPE could be implemented by the end of 2021.
Cllr Neil Fawcett, Cabinet Member for Strategic Partnerships and Place at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: "Illegal parking is extremely frustrating for residents and road users alike, particularly in our town centres. It adds to congestion and makes air quality worse. It can also hold up the emergency services. To help tackle this issue, we have been working with the County Council and Cherwell District Council to look at whether Civil Parking Enforcement would be suitable in our districts and how it could work. We will now decide whether to move forward with the scheme."
Cllr David Rouane, Cabinet Member for Housing and Environment at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: "Parking restrictions are important in helping to ensure congestion and road safety can managed effectively. Our current on-street enforcement is carried out by the police; however, this is not a great use of their resources, with enforcement generally taking place only if there is a danger or an obstruction. If taken forward, this more locally focussed approach could be a much more efficient and effective way of managing the issue and dealing with problem areas."