Are Parking Wardens Working?

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Every driver’s bugbear of receiving a parking ticket has somewhat been put to an end during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown, despite parking wardens still working.

Most local councils are asking wardens to take a ‘common sense’ approach when enforcing parking rules, which have been relaxed in recent weeks. However, it’s still unclear what these new rules are for drivers.

Why are parking wardens still working? And how should you park during the coronavirus outbreak to avoid a fine? Read on to find out.

Why are traffic wardens still working?

The British Parking Association (BPA) is still seeking clarification from the government as to whether or not parking wardens are considered ‘key workers’. However, most councils who employ the wardens are still allowing them to crack down on dodgy parking.

Manchester, some London boroughs and Devon are just a few examples of areas where NHS staff and residents have been allowed free parking in pay and display bays of council-owned car parks.

NHS staff free parking

The government has now made official Covid-19 parking concessions for all NHS staff, health and social care workers, and NHS volunteer responders.

A pass has been issued to these key workers through NHS Trusts, local authorities and the Royal Voluntary Service to prevent them from receiving Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) for using off-street and on-street parking.

How it works

  • Registration number and employer should be clearly written on the pass – for NHS Volunteer Responders, this will be the Royal Voluntary Service.
  • The pass should be displayed on the dashboard of your car where it can be clearly seen through the windscreen, printed side up.
  • A new pass should be printed and completed if the original one becomes illegible.
  • It can only be used while on official duty as one of the workers mentioned above.

Where it applies

  • Council-owned off-street car parks, the public highway and housing estates maintained by the council.
  • On-street dedicated parking bays.
  • Single yellow lines when there’s none of these spaces available, but you can’t be within 10 metres of a junction or in an area where loading restrictions are in place.
  • Some private car parks may allow free parking, but you need to check this with the operator beforehand.

Where it doesn’t apply

  • Double yellow lines.
  • Zigzag lines at crossings.
  • Keep clear markings outside schools, hospitals, fire, police and ambulance stations.
  • Disabled bays, electric car bays, police bays, suspended bays, ambulance bays and car club bays.
  • Bus stops.

How to challenge a PCN

  • Contact the local authority, explaining that you were working at the time.
  • If the ticket has come from a private company, you’ll need to contact them and provide the same explanation – it may be that you received the PCN because concessions aren’t available on their car parks.

Residential free parking

In some areas the local authorities are providing free parking for residents with yellow line restrictions outside their homes. This also applies to those people carrying out essential tasks during lockdown (e.g. getting shopping for an elderly or other vulnerable person).

Where is free parking being applied?

The following UK counties have temporarily made council-owned car parks and/or resident parking free to use for everyone:

  • Berkshire – West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead (selected car parks), Wokingham and Slough.
  • Buckinghamshire – Buckinghamshire County Council car parks, including those in Aylesbury Vale, Wycombe, South Bucks District and Chiltern District.
  • Cambridgeshire – Cambridge City Council car parks, as well as Huntingdonshire.
  • Cheshire – Cheshire East car parking charges suspended, plus those in Warrington.
  • Cornwall – pay and display car parks run by Cornwall Council are free until further notice.
  • County Durham – includes permit areas.
  • Derbyshire – Erewash Borough Council and Derbyshire Dales District Council have suspended all its car park charges.
  • Devon – Torridge District, North Devon, South Hams and West Devon Borough.
  • Dorset – all Dorset County Council car parks.
  • Essex – residential parking charges in Chelmsford has been suspended. In Rochford, this includes residential parking.
  • Gloucestershire – the Cotswolds, Forest of Dean and Stroud Districts, plus Tewkesbury Borough.
  • Greater Manchester – Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale and Stockport.
  • Hampshire – Hampshire County, Eastleigh Borough and Test Valley Borough Council have both suspended charges at all pay and display car parks. New Forest District Council has suspended charges for its town and village parking. Portsmouth, Southampton, Rushmoor Borough and Fareham Borough have all suspended on-street and car park payments.
  • Herefordshire – Herefordshire Council has suspended charges for all off-street and on-street parking.
  • Hertfordshire – Dacorum, Hertsmere, North Hertfordshire, St Albans, Stevenage, Three Rivers District, Watford and Welwyn Hatfield.
  • Huntingdonshire – Huntingdonshire District.
  • Kent – Ashford, Dartford, Dover, Gravesham, Sevenoaks, Maidstone (residents’ permit needed), Swale (residents’ permit needed), Thanet (residents’ permit needed), Tonbridge and Malling.
  • Lancashire – Lancaster.
  • Leicestershire – Blaby, Charnwood, Harborough and Melton.
  • Lincolnshire – North East Lincolnshire.
  • London – Barnet, Croydon, Greenwich, Haringey, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Newham, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets and Wandsworth.
  • Merseyside – Sefton and St Helens.
  • Norfolk – South Norfolk.
  • Northamptonshire – Kettering, Northampton, South Northamptonshire.
  • Northumberland – most car parks along the Northumberland coast closed.
  • Nottinghamshire – Ashfield, Broxtowe, Newark, Sherwood and Rushcliffe.
  • Oxfordshire – South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse.
  • Rutland – the whole Rutland area.
  • Shropshire – Shrewsbury and Atcham, Bridgnorth, North Shropshire and South Shropshire.
  • Staffordshire – Tamworth and East Staffordshire, Stafford, Stone, Newcastle-Under-Lyme.
  • Suffolk – East Suffolk and West Suffolk.
  • Surrey – Surrey County Council car parks and resident parking. Other areas include Epsom and Guildford.
  • Sussex – Hastings (on-street permit holders only) and Wealden.
  • Warwickshire – Warwick district.
  • Wiltshire – Wiltshire district and Swindon (on-street permit holders only).
  • Worcestershire – Wyre Forest.
  • Yorkshire – Craven (when doing essential shops), Harrogate, Richmondshire, Scarborough and Selby.

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