Parking enforcement steps up a gear across Lincolnshire today, when a new team of 20 traffic wardens takes to the streets. Here is your guide to how drivers will be affected...
Q.Who can issue parking penalties and where?
The county council's civil parking enforcement is being run by APCOA Parking (UK) Ltd and will operate in residents' parking zones and on-street parking areas.
District councils remain responsible for their car parks as do companies like NCP who run private car parks.
Q. What can I be charged for?
Operators of private car parks issue charges for breach of contract. Penalties arise from breaking the agreement terms – for example, not paying and displaying, parking in the wrong bays, over lines or exceeding the maximum stay.
Councils have powers under legislation to issue penalty charge notices.
For example, from December 3, the City of Lincoln Council, will operate its enforcement under the Traffic Management Act 2004, which will match the county council's on-street Civil Parking Enforcement.
A city council penalty is £25 if paid within 14 days or £50 after 14 days.
Under CPE, motorists can be charged £70 for parking on double or single yellow lines, in bus stops, on zig zags at pedestrian crossings and in taxi ranks.
Parking in limited waiting bays would attract a £50 ticket.
Councillor William Webb, who is responsible for highways at the county council, said: "This isn't about making money.
"It's about helping to keep people moving safely, reducing congestion and inconsiderate parking, along with supporting businesses with parking bays nearby."
Q. What if I feel the penalty is not justified?
Tickets can be challenged with the issuing local authority and after that an appeal can be made to independent Traffic Penalty Tribunal, which makes a final decision between the council and the registered keeper of the car in question.
In a private car park, if the operator is British Parking Association approved, there is an appeals process.
If it is not BPA approved, it is a sensible step anyway to write to the company setting out the grounds on which you consider the ticket was wrongly issued and there was no breach of contract – it creates a good impression at court to show that you have been active and consistent in arguing your defence to the claim.
Q. On what grounds can charges be challenged?
Darren Morgan, head of the dispute resolution team at Langleys Solicitors, which operates in Lincoln and York, said: "If you choose to object to the ticket, or when you are defending at court, evidence to support your argument that there has been no breach is crucial.
"So if you have paid for parking by mobile phone and still got a ticket, your evidence would be the confirmatory text you receive regarding payment having been processed and/or identifying the debit on your bank statement for the parking charges.
"Other good grounds for refusing to pay might be if in a pay and display car park a ticket had slipped off the windscreen and you can demonstrate by retention of the ticket that payment had been made."
Q. Do I have to pay a charge issued on private land?
The recently introduced Protection of Freedoms Act makes it illegal to clamp vehicles on private land.
But operators and landowners can now chase both the registered vehicle keeper and driver for unpaid charges.
Lawyer Darren Morgan told the Echo: "If you refused to pay a parking charge because there were good grounds for doing so, the parking firm would have to pursue payment through the courts as a small claim, giving you a chance to defend the claim.
"How many cases such as this would be pursued is not possible to say but given the likely size of the claim it is always possible that it is too much hassle and the company won't follow through with a claim."
NCP's Michelle McCarthy said the circumstances of each individual case are considered before deciding which course of action to take.