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Local councils clamp down on parent parking problem

Local councils have addressed the issue of illegal parking by parents during the school run by using new 'spy cars' to identify and penalise the guilty drivers.

Parents stopping on private property or keep clear sections of the road to drop their children off for school has been cited as a serious parking problem by police who have gone about tackling the concern by introducing patrol cars that are rigged up with CCTV cameras. The initiative has been rolled out by many local councils but has received criticism from those targeted.

Derby City Council revealed this week that since November last year, 217 motorists had been handed £70 fines for illegal parking outside 22 of the city’s schools. The fine is reduced to £35 if paid within 14 days.

Tim Clegg, director of partnerships and streetpride at Derby City Council, said: “Increasingly, drivers are respecting the rules around the ‘school keep clear’ markings and for that we are very grateful.”

Meanwhile, Slough Borough Council is claiming that its initiative has been enjoyed similar success. Whereas 127 people were caught parking illegally in November 2013, this number dropped to 55 in February of this year.

Councillor Sohail Munawar, commissioner for economic and social inclusion, stated: "Parking on school zigzags is inconsiderate, illegal and worst of all dangerous for the children.

"But now it seems getting a parking fine has made some parents reconsider their behaviour which is exactly why we brought in these camera cars."

Last week Essex became the latest locality to join the spy car revolution. The county revealed that the Park Safe car, launched by the North Essex Parking Partnership, will patrol the streets for up to eight hours each day to photograph "dangerous, careless, inconsiderate and negligent" parking in school zones and other areas within the district.

While parents who have been hit by the fines think that the action being taken is disproportionate to their short stop to drop their kids off near the school gates, early evidence suggests the increasingly prevalent scheme is proving effective in tackling the issue of illegal parking.

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