13 August 2015

Two minutes of hate

Mr Mustard's client got a PCN on Tuesday, just 2 minutes into a restriction on a single yellow, outside Waitrose in Whetstone. She may, or may not, have been slightly over the 4pm watershed but even if she was, does that fact warrant that she pays a penalty of £110? (or even £55 if she pays promptly if she happens to have it spare at the moment, so far from payday)

This is the sort of overly eager PCN which enrages the general public as the punishment is disproportionate to the crime (parking is decriminalised but no other word will do) and as the suspicion always is that the traffic warden is hiding around the corner waiting for 4pm to clock by and then pounces, having already clocked the vehicle details for a quick hit and run PCN.

Mr Mustard will be fighting back. The first line of attack is at the accuracy of the time in the hand held equipment of the traffic warden. He will ask to see proof that the terminal concerned had been duly synchronised to the atomic clock at the start of the shift. If the council can't prove that the time was accurate an independent adjudicator may well give the benefit of the doubt to the motorist.

The second is because the Handbook issued by London Councils for traffic wardens to be guided by across all of London, says

so no PCN should be issued before 16:03 on the single yellow line in Whetstone High Rd (west side).

London Councils also suggest there should be an observation period for contravention code 01 but Barnet Council have entered into a contract with NSL that allows for a PCN to be issued without any observation period whatsoever. In this case the traffic warden has come along and started the process of issuing the PCN before 16:02 as it takes a minimum of about 40 seconds to issue.

This isn't about traffic flow. That stretch of the High Rd doesn't even benefit from being kept clear in the afternoon as it is between a bus stop that is built out into the road and a disabled bay further north which means that there is only ever one lane of traffic and not two, which would be the point of removing the parked cars. It would be much better to remove the restriction and allow 2 or 3 hours of free parking from 9am to 5pm with all other times being unrestricted.

This PCN will be fought all the way to tribunal stage.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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