Fenland, South Cambs and Hunts opt for civil parking enforcement – but not East Cambs 

Civil parking enforcement in Cambs

FDC deputy leader Cllr Jan French (inset) and the problems experienced in March: right- a typical day of enforcement by police in Wisbech - Credit: Archant

If, as expected, Fenland, Huntingdonshire and South Cambs agree, East Cambridgeshire could be one of only three local councils across the country to snub civil parking enforcement.  

Both Fenland and Huntingdonshire councils have already agreed the changes in principle. 

Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) transfers the powers and responsibilities for on-street enforcement from the police to the highway authority. 

The county council highways and transport committee will discuss proposals for all three district councils on September 7. 

Steve Cox, executive director, place and economy, says of the 326 local authorities in England, 316 have adopted civil enforcement powers. 

Police in Wisbech reacted to complaints of illegal parking with a blitz of the town on Friday mornin

Police in Wisbech reacted to complaints of illegal parking with a blitz of the tow. They issued 22 fixed penalty notices and reminded motorists the town boasted numerous free car parks. - Credit: Archant

“Of 10 remaining, four fall within Cambridgeshire: Fenland, Huntingdonshire, South Cambridgeshire, and East Cambridgeshire,” he says.  

“Of the remaining six, three are scheduled to be implemented in Oxfordshire by the end of 2021.” 

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The committee will discuss applying for a special enforcement area to the Government to introduce civil parking enforcement.  

Civil parking enforcement, outside of Cambridge, is enforced by the police. 

The county council says if CPE comes in, it will mean they will be able to “enforce inconsiderate parking, help improve access and support local businesses”. 

At the same it will contribute to reducing congestion and improve air quality “an overarching environmental objective” of the rainbow alliance running Cambridgeshire.  

Feasibility work is underway by both Fenland District Council (FDC) and Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC).  

The day when a bus came a cropper in Wisbech trying to pass illegally parked cars 

The day when a bus came a cropper in Wisbech trying to pass illegally parked cars - Credit: Archant

The Greater Cambridge Partnership has agreed to fund the delivery in South Cambridgeshire for South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC). 

If the committee agrees then further survey work will be commissioned and officers will work with partners, including HDC, FDC and SCDC, to prepare the application and draft agreements. 

The agreement will detail the financial and operational responsibilities and how enforcement will work across the districts.   

The committee will also hear the risks associated with this type of application, such as financial and operational, and the delivery timetable, which will include a consultation process. 

CPE was introduced in Cambridge in 2004. Both administration and enforcement of this area is managed by CCC Parking Services Team 

Mr Cox said “East Cambridgeshire District Council (ECDC) are not currently considering the introduction of CPE.  

“DfT have indicated an application for CPE omitting ECDC would be considered.” 

Forehill, Ely, parking issues

Forehill, Ely, and poor parking blights the city centre. But ECDC insists civil parking enforcement is taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut - Credit: Archant

Cllr Anna Bailey, ECDC leader, remains furious about the “selfish behaviour” of some motorists in Ely but is against CPE. 

“I do not want to use the sledgehammer of Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) to crack a nut,” she says.  

“We are working with Cambridgeshire Constabulary on a solution that has not yet been implemented anywhere else in the country to tackle this issue once and for all.  

“We are aware of the particular hotspots around the district, and we want to create a solution which is effective, cost effective and sustainable.” 

Mr Cox said that while CPE could be rolled out in Fenland and Huntingdonshire, “it would not be financially viable to do so without on-going funding support.  

“Due to impact that persistent and acute inconsiderate parking has on road safety and accessibility, FDC and HDC have taken steps to secure funding to cover the annual shortfall as well as all associated implementation costs”. 

Further survey work will be commissioned across Fenland, Huntingdonshire and South Cambridgeshire to assess the condition of signs and lines indicating the various parking restrictions.  

Mr Cox said: “This is a requirement for CPE as without compliant signs and lines enforcement is not possible.” 

He said three options were on the table for running CPE. 

1: In house which would require both a processing and enforcement team. 

2: Contracting it out  

3: A mixture of both.  

He said FDC favours out sourcing it whilst HDC will possibly expand their enforcement team.  

Introducing CPE is not cheap – FDC secured a £400,000 grant from the combined authority for set up costs.  

But there remains an annual operational deficit of up to £75,000 to consider. 

Mr Cox warned that once implemented “there is no way to reverse the process”.