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Parking Enforcement Policy

1. Introduction

Dover District Council is responsible for the enforcement of parking regulations both on and off-street throughout the District. Enforcement on street is carried out by the Council on behalf of Kent County Council.

Although parking contraventions have been de-criminalised, they have not been de-legalised. It therefore remains an illegal act to park in contravention of the restrictions.

2. Areas of Legislation

The following Acts and Orders are applicable:

  • Part IV Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984
  • Dover District Council (Off Street Parking Places Order) (Current)
  • Road Traffic (Permitted Parking Area and Special Parking Area) (County of Kent) Order (District of Dover) Order 2001
  • The Kent County Council (Various Roads, Dover District) (Waiting Restrictions and Street Parking Places) Order (current)
  • The Traffic Management Act 2004 (Part 6)

3. Objectives

Parking enforcement is undertaken in order to:

  • Keep traffic flowing freely.
  • Ensure that there is a fair and even distribution and turnover of available parking spaces throughout the District, not only for visitors, but also for residents, traders, customers and businesses.
  • Make the Dover district a safer place, to drive, walk or cycle through.
  • Ensure that designated disabled bays are used only by those persons lawfully displaying a valid disabled badge in accordance with the regulations pertaining to the international Disabled Badge Scheme.
  • Ensure that spaces designated for use by specific vehicles such as taxis, buses, police and Goods vehicle only bays are kept clear for their sole use.
  • Ensure that those areas identified as being within a resident’s scheme contain vehicles that park only within the permitted time limits.
  • Ensure that pedestrians may walk safely without fear or obstruction, especially in pedestrianised areas and outside of schools.

  The Traffic Management Act 2004 also aims to obtain 100% compliance with the parking regulations from motorists

4. Statement of Intent

(i) Dover District Council will enforce parking regulations fairly, lawfully and without discrimination.

(ii) It is the policy of this Authority to enforce parking regulations on every day of the year, including Bank Holidays.

(iii) It is not the policy of this Authority to clamp and remove vehicles, although the legal powers are in place to do so. Any such action on - street would require the consent of Kent County Council, on whose behalf Dover District Council are acting.

(iv) It is the policy of this Authority to issue PCN’s to vehicles that do not display the disabled badge correctly. In most instances, the PCN will be cancelled for a first contravention, where the badge has not been displayed correctly. This course of action educates disabled badge holders in the correct procedure for displaying the blue badge and clock, avoids misunderstanding at a later date, and keeps badge misuse to a minimum. Parking Services has the power to inspect blue badges, and it is the policy of Dover District Council to report suspected cases of misuse to the issuing Authority, normally Kent County Council at Maidstone.

 5. Summary of Procedure

Drivers committing a contravention of the parking regulations will be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice, which will normally be affixed to the vehicle, or handed to the driver. It is also  possible for parking services to issue a penalty charge notice through the post, if a driver has behaved in an abusive manner, or has driven away before it could be properly served. Drivers will be given 14 days in which to either pay a penalty charge notice (PCN) at the discounted rate, or challenge the charge. Every case that challenges a PCN will be investigated on it’s own merit, and mitigating circumstances will be taken into account. It is standard practice to request proof of these circumstances wherever possible. If a challenge to a PCN is received, and does not constitute grounds for waiving the charge, then the discounted rate will be held for a further 14-day period from the date of rejection.

If no payment has been received within 28 days after the issue of the PCN, irrespective of whether the driver/owner has previously challenged the charge, then Parking Services will obtain the details of the registered owner/keeper of the vehicle from the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The registered owner/keeper of the vehicle is the person responsible for payment of the charge.

A Notice to Owner (NtO) will be despatched to the registered owner/keeper upon receipt of these details from the DVLA. The owner/driver may then make a formal challenge to the charge, and this will be investigated by Parking Services. It is the policy of this authority to take a photograph of every contravention, in order to prove the contravention and the fact that the PCN was legally placed on the vehicle.

If the challenge to the charge is not accepted then a formal notice of rejection under Schedule 6 of the Road Traffic Act 1991 will be issued to the appellant. This correspondence will contain details of the steps that can be taken by the appellant, if they wish to appeal to the Traffic Enforcement Centre. *

A minimum of twenty-eight days after the issue of the NtO, Parking Services will send a Charge Certificate to the registered owner/keeper of the vehicle, which will increase the original charge by 50%.

A minimum of 14 days after the issue of the Charge Certificate, Parking Services will register the debt at Northampton County Court. This action will increase the charge by a further £8, which is the court fee for this service. The registered owner/keeper will be informed of this debt registration, and if no response is received within 21 days of the registration, then Court Enforcement Officers (formerly bailiffs) will be instructed to recover the debt on our behalf.

Up to three Bailiff Companies will be used to recover these debts, and are performance measured against each other.

6. Consistency and Proportionality

  • All Civil Enforcement Officers are trained to the same standards, by way of an in-house manual, formal training and on-going monitoring.
  • Civil Enforcement Officers cannot retract a Penalty Charge Notice once it has been lawfully issued.
  • At any of the legal stages throughout the enforcement process, mitigating circumstances will be considered in order to reduce or waive the charge.
  • Customers may be given the opportunity to pay in instalments, if this course of action is appropriate. 
  • At every stage that correspondence is sent to a registered owner/keeper, that person will be advised of the next course of action that will be taken against them.
  • Parking Services will use whichever databases are lawfully available to them to pursue details of drivers that have committed a contravention to the parking regulations.

* Further information about the Traffic Enforcement Centre is given on page 5 under item 7 - “Rights of Appeal”.

Parking Services undertakes not to disclose information held on its databases to a third party, unless the request is from a Law Enforcement Agency and is in order to prevent or detect crime.

Parking Services will endeavour to ensure that patrolling takes place in all areas of the district on a regular basis, However enforcement can only take place as resources permit this, and some areas may not be patrolled if resources are limited.

7. Rights of Appeal

Specific rights of appeal are set out in each of the notices referred to in the above Procedure.

The procedure for dealing with parking appeals is set down in Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 and Road Traffic Parking Adjudicators Regulations. The Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT) exists as an independent body to determine appeals against Penalty Charge Notices. If a driver chooses to appeal to the TPT then he/she forfeits the right to pay the charge at the reduced rate. The service is free to motorists and appeals may be made either by post or in person. Personal appeals for the Dover District are normally heard in Ashford, Maidstone or Canterbury, but Appellants may nominate any of the locations used by the Adjudication Service throughout the country. The TPT has the power to award costs, either to the appellant or to the Council, if either party are found to have behaved in a vexatious or frivolous manner, but these powers are rarely exercised. The Adjudicator’s decision is final and neither the Council nor the driver of the vehicle can argue their case in another court at a later date. In certain limited circumstances an Adjudicator’s decision can be reviewed; if an Adjudicator errs in law the decision may be reviewed in the High Court.

More information on the Traffic Penalty Tribunal can be found on the website www.patrol-uk.info.

Dover District Council has a cancellation policy relating to penalty charge notices which is available on our website:

8. Complaints

Dover District Council operates a corporate complaints system. This is available where any individual who is not satisfied with the standard of a Council service, and who has not been able to resolve his/her complaint with the relevant divisional manager, wishes to make a formal complaint to the Professional Standards Officer.

The corporate complaints procedure provides the Council with the opportunity to investigate and, where appropriate, provide a remedy in circumstances where the Council is alleged to have been guilty of "maladministration" which has caused injustice (and where there is no other reasonable avenue available to the complainant to appeal or seek redress). It is important to note, however, that the corporate complaints system cannot entertain objections against the merits of a decision which has been properly taken and which the complainant does not agree with.

In the event that the complainant remains dissatisfied after the Council has investigated the complaint, the complainant may refer his/her complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, who is independent of the Council. It must be emphasised that the Ombudsman will not consider a complaint where more than 12 months has elapsed since the alleged act/omission (unless the Ombudsman thinks that it is reasonable to look into the matter despite the delay).

No complaint against Parking Services or their staff will be formally investigated unless it is placed in writing.

The Department for Transport, in it's publication “ Operational Guidance to Local Authorities: Parking Policy and Enforcement" TMA 2004 advises that “given the semi-judicial role of the representation process, local authority members should play no part in deciding on individual representations”

9. Annual Reviews

It is important that the Council should monitor its performance in applying its Corporate Enforcement Policies so that it can assess the impact and effectiveness of its Policies and ensure that those Policies are assisting the Council in meeting its aims and objectives in each respective service area.

All Enforcement Policies will therefore be reviewed annually and this, alongside the Council's annual service plans, will provide a basis for measuring implementation and improvement of those Policies. Policies will also be the subject of periodic consultation processes e.g., with relevant bodies and organisations.

Contact Parking Services

Tel: 01304 872459
Email: parking@dover.gov.uk