11 December 2023

A sunny dis-position


So here we have an image of Sunny Gardens Road in Hendon Central. Signs here just can't sit still. The cctv sign has been twisted to the right since 2017 and the upper single yellow sign to the left since 2019. Traffic wardens are meant to report defective signs and have the sign team fix them rather than issue a PCN. No-one has done their job for 4 years.
A friend of Mr Mustard's got a PCN to the right of the sign. It wasn't an event day. Mr Mustard made the informal challenge (the one made in response to a PCN placed on the windscreen). Here it is.
To his astonishment it turned out, allegedly, that Mr Mustard was wrong, but the PCN was still going to be cancelled.

Readers will note that the alleged mistake made by the Civil Enforcement Officer is not specified. That, Mr Mustard surmises, is because he didn't make two errors, the one which Mr Mustard identified plus another one.

This is the first time in 14 years of fighting PCNs that Mr Mustard has received such an odd letter, so directly telling him how wrong he is when everyone in the world can see he is logically & technically correct.

A council simply should not enforce a PCN when their signs are not up to snuff.

If you walk past the southern end of Sunny Gardens Rd do let Mr Mustard know if the sign has been straightened up, by a note in the comments box. 

If you get a PCN at the same spot, Mr Mustard will challenge it for you. He takes no notice of the bluff about the cancellation not setting a precedent (well it was supposedly for the unknown error so Mr Mustard can't use it as a ground) as PCNs get cancelled by adjudicators for inadequate signage every day of the week (except Sundays when they don't sit).

The end.

Desperate for cash - Barnet Council

The owner of the vehicle (a small amount of which is overhanging the yellow box junction) was somewhat surprised to receive a PCN in the post for the alleged contravention of 'Entering and stopping in a box junction when prohibited'.

A heinous crime obviously (not).

What could he have done or what should you do if you encounter this situation?

1    Move forward as the gap to the car in front is huge.

2    Go up the inside lane

3    Turn right (as is an exemption).

Mr Mustard has made representations that any contravention is 'de minimis non curat lex' i.e. a Court (or tribunal) does not concern itself with trifles.

Looked at from above this is a box which is far longer than it needs to be and the mouth of the junction does not need to be that wide as there is a weight limit on the side road so does not need to accommodate huge trucks which means that a narrower entry would slow traffic down and make crossing for pedestrians (Sainsburys are on the corner) much safer.

The change of political control on 5 May 2022 has not softened the ruthless, relentless and venal issuing of Penalty Charge Notices.

The end.

7 December 2023

Havering - the dangerous council

Mr Mustard was asked to help a motorist who, when driving along perfectly legally was presented with a problem requiring instant action. The problem was three cars heading straight towards them and the only sensible option was to enter the bus lane to avoid a head on smash, probable serious injury and possibly death. Havering Council thought that deserved a PCN.

The only other realistic alternative was to stop within your lane but Mr Mustard would have done the same as the motorist as if in doubt, no matter how much you are in the right, you get out of the way of dangerous drivers.

Why did someone at Havering Council think this merited a PCN?

The process is that for a bus lane PCN you can make an informal challenge (although the right is not enshrined in law it is usually offered by councils in London). If that is rejected an Enforcement Notice is issued against which you make formal representations (they can be the same as the informal challenge).  Then you can go to Appeal in front of an independent adjudicator at London Tribunals if rejected.

Adjudicators are truly independent and do not have a financial interest in the outcome, which helps. Councils on the other hand know that if they reject challenges only 1% of PCNs end up at the tribunal. (Close to 100% of Mr Mustard's rejections end up at the tribunal! and 90% of those end in cancellation).

Outside London it is different, there is only one representation stage to the council.

The motorist had already sent in their own informal challenge and seen it rejected as follows:

Here is the first part of the formal representations which Mr Mustard wrote.

 It did not find favour with Havering.

You will note the complete absence of the full consideration which Havering claim to have made. Havering expect you to play chicken with oncoming traffic as they wrote when rejecting the informal challenge. The Notice of Rejection continued:

The Notice of Rejection was a nonsense. The Enforcement Notice had already been received and responded to. Given that recourse to the tribunal was offered the process as far as the council was concerned was over. Mr Mustard could have pointed out their error but their final line suggested this might well be a waste of time so instead an Appeal was duly started at London Tribunals which meant that Havering had to pay a fee of £25.55

The Appeal was based upon the procedural errors of the council. Three weeks passed and then Havering decided to not contest the Appeal and to cancel the PCN. Not that confident in their case then?

If you think you are correct stand up for your rights or ask Mr Mustard to do so on your behalf.

The end.