County-wide parking scheme planned for Somerset

Parking ticket generic
Image caption Parking offences were decriminalised in Taunton Deane in February 2001

Somerset County Council is in talks with district councils to bring in county-wide civil parking enforcement.

A BBC investigation showed in Taunton Deane the cost of employing parking attendants between March 2008 and March 2010 was £1.2m.

The revenue they raised in fines was £650,000.

The county council said it would financially benefit district councils because they would only have to pay for the service on an hour-by-hour basis.

In other parts of the county the police are responsible for enforcement.

Administration of the scheme would also be carried out by the county council to cut down on running costs, but the travel costs of the parking enforcement officers would be picked up by the district councils.

Parking fines

If the district councils agree, the county council will have to get permission from the secretary of state for transport for permission to bring in county-wide civil parking enforcement.

A Freedom of Information request by the BBC showed the cost of employing parking attendants in Taunton Deane was £556,000 more than they raised in parking fines.

A spokesman for Taunton Deane Borough Council said: "Although the service operates holistically, the borough council is required to keep separate accounts for the on-street and off-street [car parks] elements".

The council also said its car parks brought in about £3m of funding each year.

Update 21 April 2011: It was earlier stated that the civil parking enforcement scheme in Taunton Deane ran at a £556,000 loss between March 2008 and March 2010. Taunton Deane Borough Council has since provided more information to show that when taking into account other parking revenues the council has made a loss of £177,000 on the wider civil parking enforcement scheme between those dates.

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