19 August 2016

What does 5 tonnes look like?

With the advent of 24 hour enforcement in Barnet (you have been warned; don't take a chance) traffic wardens are out in force at night (mostly in pairs in a car) looking for any vehicle parked in contravention of anything, regardless of whether or not any real harm is being done, and Mr Mustard has noticed that there has been a surge in PCN for being in breach of the 5 tonne Overnight Waiting Ban. The purpose of this is so that your neighbour doesn't take up half the street bringing his cement mixer, or other large commercial vehicle, home every night and blocking up the parking as well as it being bad for fumes in residential areas etc.

Traffic wardens seem to have developed an enthusiasm for ticketing minibuses but doubtless they have been slapping PCNs on vans as well regardless of whether or not the vehicle weights more or less than 5 tonnes (mgw). To help the traffic wardens get it right, here is a guide to the sort of size of vehicle you need to be near to the 5t limit.

A monster length high roofed van might just reach the 5 tonne limit so clearly a short or medium wheel based van won't. As to mini-buses, they just don't make the weight

Mr Mustard thought about PCNs and the 6 PCN giving to his large family client who use a large mini-bus (mgw 3.5T) as the family transporter. On what grounds have traffic wardens (CEO) been issuing PCN? None at all was the conclusion he came to.

The PCN has to contain a statement to meet the following Regulation (a law)

Thus, in Mr Mustard's opinion the CEO (traffic warden) must have a solid reason to think that the vehicle in question exceeds the 5T limit, not just a vague notion that its a big vehicle so it might be over. Mr Mustard posed this question yesterday of parking management. He predicts it will be a while before he gets an answer but that in the meantime the number of PCN for code 55 contraventions will suddenly drop, especially for his large family with the minibus.

We'll see. Every single PCN will be argued all the way to the tribunal at a cost of £30 each for the council who like burning fees when faced with Mr Mustard.

Traffic wardens - you can print a pdf of this blog post below to carry with you on your beat and remind you of the rules.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

Update: Here is the answer to the question as to how a traffic warden has reason to believe that a vehicle is over 5 tonnes.

The Civil Enforcement Officer (CEO) would have been briefed on what type of vehicles would exceed the 5ton weight limit for commercial vehicles and for minibuses, they would count the number of seats within the vehicle to ascertain if it is over the 13 seat (including driver) limit. This as per the Traffic Management Order (TMO).

If a keeper requires to challenge that their commercial vehicle exceeds either the 5ton weight limit or minibus has over 13 seats, then they have the right to challenge the issue of the penalty as per the statutory process and provide supporting evidence i.e the vehicle registration V5, which contains the relevant information.

Two things:

1. The TMO (traffic management order) says this "commercial vehicle means any vehicle of which exceeds five tonnes maximum gross weight but does not include a motor vehicle constructed or adapted solely for the carriage of not more than 12 passengers…" so that means that any 13 seater bus or coach which exceeds the 5 tonne limit is not caught by the TMO, &

2.  It is not right that a motorist should have to defend a PCN which the council had no legal right to issue in the first place. In order to issue a PCN the traffic warden has to have a positive reason to believe that the vehicle exceeds the maximum gross weight not just a feeling in their water, which is nearly always going to be that the vehicle does exceed the 5T limit.

Mr Mustard, being of stubborn stock, has now asked to see the briefing given to traffic wardens. Mr Mustard can, within 1 minute, tell you the maximum gross weight (also known as the revenue weight) of any vehicle parked in Barnet by using the DVLA website. There is therefore no justification whatsoever for a council to make a mistake over this.

The council have no idea of the incalculable stress that receiving 6 PCN for not doing anything wrong has brought to the large family in question. They paid 3 PCN before Mr Mustard got involved. These must be refunded as they were paid under mistake and really they should receive monetary compensation (say £55 a PCN?) and a handsome apology.

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