5 April 2015

Lovely to hear from you DCMD

DCMD (Don't call me Dave) used to write a blog in Barnet before he moved to sunny Essex but he still keeps his beady eye on us.

In response to a recent blog in which Mr Mustard was inciting everyone to rise up and challenge their PCN, DCMD was moved to make a comment which is deserving of some explanation in its own blog. Here is the comment:

The first question to answer is why 150,000+ PCN are issued each year in Barnet. Is it because no-one can get along the roads, pavements, out of their drives or across the road because of badly parked cars? No, it is because the net income from parking is estimated at the beginning of the year and to achieve it that is the number of PCN that need to be issued. It is a classic tail wagging the dog situation.

Mr Mustard's view is that this year's parking surplus should be spent on next year's transport infrastructure projects (like cycle lanes & trams) so that if the number of PCN falls it isn't necessary to have a Parking Recovery Project to make up the lost ground.

What the council should also be doing, in order to achieve their supposed objective of issuing fewer PCN is educating drivers to get it right. The council spend zero on educating people in what is a highly technical area.

It isn't anarchy to suggest that everyone challenges their PCN. It might be a slight over-statement as Mr Mustard finds errors in only 90% of PCN and he does tell 1 in 10 people to pay up at the start. It is the legal right of motorists to make up to 3 challenges against parking PCN; Mr Mustard thinks that the system is designed to take maximum advantage of the apathetic and/or the very busy and he intends to try and encourage them to be less so by explaining the little known process and supplying them with the knowledge they need.

If councils found that issuing 75,000 PCN was more profitable than issuing 150,000 they would issue 75,000.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


  1. Mr. Mustard, along with a lot of people, struggle to find correctly issued PCNs which makes me wonder if a large number of paid PCNs were in fact incorrectly issued. I would welcome PCNs that are so legally watertight and so robust that they are literally unbeatable. PCNs of this nature would obviously been issued deservedly and the recipients would be both financially and morally foolish to challenge them. Councils and their subcontractors have had over 20 years to iron out all the bugs and provide a reasonable service that benefits the public as a whole. Instead we have a reviled and punitive regime that benefits only those that manage it.

    Public outrage is now so elevated that central government has stepped in due to their expert guidance being roundly ignored ever since the day it was issued. Anarchy is of course a state of disorder due to nonrecognition of authority so you were right to use the word but were directing at the wrong group of persons (or in this case, weasels).

  2. Thank you Ewan for posting such a well considered comment. I wish I could have written it!

  3. Mr Mustard

    What a great honour to be featured in your blog! DCMD tries to keep abreast of the news in Barnet in anticipation of his eventual return to London’s most glorious borough. Sadly, time does not permit him to read all the prodigious output produced by some of the bloggers (you know who you are).

    Arguably, PCNs fall into three categories: Those issued correctly, those issued incorrectly due to a technicality and those issued incorrectly because no offence had occurred.

    Where no offence has occurred, it is only right and proper that an appeal be launched. Where the council has erred due to a technical error it becomes a grey area. We all get rightly annoyed when a criminal evades justice on a technicality, so should motorists escape a fine when illegally parked due to a minor procedural irregularity?

    At this point, DCMD should declare that some 10+ years ago he was issued with a parking ticket in Edgware but the warden (as they then were) wrote down his vehicle registration number incorrectly. DCMD did not pay and never heard anything more. Was he correct to do so? The offence had occurred – the warden simply erred (DCMD is a poet and doesn’t even know it). Yes, DCMD was correct to take advantage of the warden’s error. You can argue that it was not fair of him to do so, knowing that he was in the wrong, but unless you want to live under a totalitarian regime, the state must pay for its mistakes just as citizens do.

    Are you perhaps being disingenuous by stating that there are errors in 90% of PCNs? 90% of the 150,000 issued or 90% of the slightly lesser number which you review? If it is 90% of the 150,000 then there is indeed a fundamental problem with the parking service, but encouraging more people to appeal will bring down the whole system and chaos will ensue, rather than the required overhaul carried out in an orderly manner.

    DCMD agrees that in an ideal world, no PCNs should ever be issued. But the council needs the revenue and fewer PCNs issued will lead to higher charges elsewhere. Be careful what you wish for!


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