Unpaid parking has cost council £42k

A van parked on a yellow line in Hallgate in Wigan town centre
A van parked on a yellow line in Hallgate in Wigan town centre

WIGAN Council is owed £42,000 in unpaid parking fines, we can reveal.

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request have revealed that Wigan currently has £41,988 outstanding from fines which have been dished out since April 2010.

So far in this financial year, (2011/12) 15,698 parking tickets have been handed out in the borough with £1,291.45 still owed.

The shocking figures do not even include the thousands of pounds the council has written off from the previous years, with the figures showing that the council has nothing outstanding before 2010.

However, a council spokesman today denied that any fines are written off after a period of time.

Wigan Council’s Traffic Manager Kevin Hargreaves said: “The council does not write off Parking Collection Notices after two years. Unpaid charges are recovered in line with the Traffic Management Act 2004. If payment is not received to close a case, the case will progress and we will write to the registered owner/keeper of the vehicle.

“If the charge remains unpaid the debt will be registered with the Traffic Enforcement Centre and an Order for Recovery will then be issued.

“If the charge still remains unpaid a warrant is issued and the case is passed to bailiffs to recover the debt on behalf of Wigan Council. The warrant is valid for 12 months. Should the debt not be recovered within this time a new warrant can be applied for in order to continue with the recovery of the debt.”

In 2010, parking chiefs raked in more than £500,000 in fines from motorists in Wigan - that works out at £2.76 for every adult who lived or worked in the borough. However, the figure of £525,906 in 2008/09 was down on the previous year of £743,353.

Earlier this month, Kensington and Chelsea council were accused of ordering traffic wardens to give out a minimum of 306,000 parking tickets a year, following the leak of a document. The government confirmed the illegality of parking ticket quotas under guidance issued in 2008.