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When was the last time you were issued a Government parking fine?

An investigation carried out by the UK Government Department for Transport has found that up to £23 million worth of parking of fines may have wrongly been issued to drivers due to wrongly constructed signs.

The Government investigation found that hundreds of thousands of parking fines in the UK may have wrongly been issued, as a result of councils not using the correct signs that have not been approved by the Government. The amount of parking tickets have significantly increased over the years and according to a recent survey, a driver receives a ticket of up to £80 every 4.6 seconds in the UK.

A large majority of these tickets were given to vehicles which were parked in parking bays which had been suspended by local councils to allow for road repairs. However according to the investigation, these suspended parking bays were not officially approved by the Government.

The Government currently provides a book of designs of road signs which councils are required to follow. However signs for suspended parking bays have yet to be designed. The Government therefore requires councils to apply for formal authorisation to use the signs in order that it complies with the Traffic Signs Regulations.

The Government investigation states that in London, almost 350,000 parking fines, worth a total of £23 million may have wrongly been issued as a result of poorly displayed signs. The Government investigation has found that more than 1,500 parking bays were suspended on average by a London council and up to 28 councils have yet to apply for authorisation from the Government by 2012.

Neil Davies, a motoring solicitor at the law firm Caddick Davies said “From a legal perspective councils are on very shaky ground, because the signage they used is effectively made up. They may be relying on the fact many people don’t challenge parking notices”.

The case of the suspended bays came to light in January 2010 when Suzanne Campbell successfully took London’s Camden Council to court after receiving a ticket in a suspended parking bay. However drivers fined years ago may find it hard to be reimbursed the money, given that there is a time limit of 28 days for appeals.

A separate investigation by the Government found there was a significant increase in applications for authorisation from London councils after the Suzanne Campbell ruling, but 14 councils still have yet no clearance. The Government have refused to name and shame the councils.

What do you think of the Government investigation, feel free to comment below.