Aberdeenshire Council is revisiting the option of introducing Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) across the region.
Currently, the enforcement of the legal restrictions covering on-street parking in Aberdeenshire, sits with Police Scotland.
In recent years, some Scottish local authorities have applied for and been granted relevant powers to decriminalise on-street parking, taking responsibility for enforcement away from the police.
In those other local authority areas, parking attendants have been employed to issue Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) for inappropriate parking on double yellow lines, single yellow lines, misuse of disabled parking bays, School ‘Keep Clear’ areas and for overstaying periods in limited waiting spaces.
Aberdeenshire Council is considering whether this could be an option to improve accessibility, safety and the vitality of town centres, across the area, as well as relieving congestion.
Its Infrastructure Services Committee, which meets on March 12, will consider whether to progress with an application to Scottish Ministers to start the process to obtain the required powers.
The balance lies between the potential benefits for town centres and the financial burden it would create for the council in the short to medium term.
In January 2018, councillors agreed not to proceed with the option of DPE. However, in June 2019 the council’s Parking Management Members Officers Working Group sought agreement from Infrastructure Services Committee to revisit the feasibility of decriminalised parking and those members are now being presented with a report giving them the options of seeking the relevant powers.
With the introduction of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 there will also now be a Scotland-wide ban on pavement and double parking. The Act also provides local authorities with powers to enforce the national ban.
Whilst this has become an Act, the implementation will be tied in with the publication of statutory guidance and secondary legislation as required for the various provisions of the Act. It is unknown at present when implementation of the parking provisions will take effect.
Councillors will hear that while there is no statutory requirement to carry out the powers to enforce the national ban on pavement and double parking, that it is likely that there will be significant expectation from both the public and Scottish Ministers for this to be tackled.
Head of Transportation Ewan Wallace explained
If DPE powers are not applied for or granted, Aberdeenshire Council could be in a situation where there is power to enforce pavement parking and double parking but not deal with a vehicle parked on a double yellow line.
“This is likely to lead to public frustrations and confused messages and while there are cost and resource implications from implementing any enforcement of pavement parking, efficiencies could be achieved if DPE is introduced alongside this additional power.