2:08pm UK, Friday December 31, 2010
UK councils have been forced to write off thousands of parking tickets after failing to trace the drivers of the foreign vehicles they were issued to.
Parking tickets issued to drivers of foreign-registered vehicles have been written off
The tickets, worth millions of pounds, were issued over a two-year period by councils and police forces which had ferry terminals, ports and other transport hubs in or near their area.
Responding to a freedom of information request, the councils revealed that thousands of parking tickets issued to foreign-registered vehicles had to be written off because they were unable to trace the drivers.
Between July 2007 and October 2010, Westminster City Council wrote off 45,437 tickets worth £3.08m, with £3.2m still owed, while Portsmouth City Council wrote off £110,965 in parking fines between April 2008 and October 2010.
Newcastle was close behind, revealing £84,470 in unpaid tickets had been written off between April 2008 and December 2010.
Lee Rowley, of Westminster City Council
British taxpayers can no longer foot the bill for foreign motorists who seem to think the rules of this country do not apply to them.
A spokesperson for Portsmouth City Council said: "On the expiry of a penalty charge notice (28 days) the DVLA will advise registered keeper details and, if they are overseas and outside Portsmouth City Council jurisdiction, then Portsmouth City Council cancels or writes off the amount."
Bill Blakemore, director of the SPARKS network, which campaigns for better cross-border traffic enforcement, said: "Local authorities will carry on losing money until the Government sets up working arrangements with other European countries to share ownership data."
Lee Rowley, Westminster City Council's cabinet member for parking, said: "We would like to see a more rigorous system put in place to hold these drivers to account."
He added: "British taxpayers can no longer foot the bill for foreign motorists who seem to think the rules of this country do not apply to them."