MOTORISTS who drive off before a parking attendant has issued a ticket could receive a fine by post.
New powers handed to Kirklees Council and other authorities yesterday also include larger penalties for more serious parking infringements and the ability to prosecute illegal parking by CCTV.
But Kirklees insisted the new powers would be used with discretion and wardens – now called civil enforcement officers – had been rigorously trained on their new duties.
The council added it was the only West Yorkshire authority not to raise its charges. Fines will be capped at £40 for minor offences – such as parking for longer than is authorised – and £60 for more serious offences such as occupying a disabled bay without a permit.
Traffic officers will be able to penalise double parking, parking at crossings and parking on pavements.
Clr David Hall, Kirklees Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “I would echo the sentiments of the Government in that the new parking regulations will make it clearer and fairer for all.
“The new parking regulations should also help to ease congestion and reduce the number of accidents on our roads.
“Obviously we’ll be applying the new laws with common sense. We can tell how long someone has been in a space. If they’re there for a legitimate reason we’re not going to fine them. But if motorists are being discourteous we’ve got to.
“We decided to keep parking fines the same because we made a promise that we wouldn’t use them to generate income. Council tax is enough without back-door measures.”
But AA president Edmund King feared the new measures may be used unfairly.
Mr King said: “We need to get parking enforcement into proportion. A car may stop for legitimate reasons such as dropping off a passenger or making a delivery.
“Some local authorities have lost sight of the original aims of parking enforcement, which was to keep traffic flowing, warn selfish drivers, punish blatant offenders and keep legitimate use of car parking spaces ticking over.”