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UK Parking Authority Clamps Down on Towing
Text of the UK National Parking Adjudication Service Annual Report condemns the practice of towing cars for petty violations.

National Parking Adjudication Service
The UK agency that hears appeals on parking ticket cases is looking to stop the "draconian" policy of meter maids towing away cars for petty violations. In its 2004 Annual Report, the National Parking Adjudication Service (NPAS) took local jurisdictions and city councils to task for their tow first, ask questions later policy.

"It is disappointing that, especially where a Council has used the draconian enforcement power of removing the vehicle, in some cases the complaint has not been investigated properly until such time as the motorist appeals," the report states. "We have also identified cases for one Council where Adjudicators have repeatedly commented about the need for proportionality in the decision to tow away vehicles, yet the Council has continued to tow away vehicles in the same circumstances."

The report outlines the case of a council ignoring an adjudicator who warned it was towing cars in violation of the Human Rights Act 1998, which states, "No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest." The adjudicator pointed out the practice of seizing vehicles over an alleged failure to pay £1.50 (US $2.64) was hardly in the "public interest." The motorist in question, in fact, had paid.

The motorist who finds his car taken "suffers immediate distress and inconvenience," according to the report. "The penalty charge, release and, if appropriate, storage fees must be paid straight away, irrespective of any ground for appeal which the appellant may wish to put forward. He is therefore immediately out of pocket and may remain so for weeks or months until the appeal is determined either by the Council itself or by the Adjudicator."

A total of eight million tickets were issued throughout England and Wales in 2004. Of the 2,853,089 parking tickets issued under NPAS jurisdiction, a mere 0.37 percent were appealed, a rate unchanged from the prior year.

A full copy of the report is available in a 1.8mb PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File 2004 Annual Report (National Parking Adjudication Service, 1/17/2006)

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