Civil parking enforcement and FAQs

What does civil parking enforcement (CPE) mean?

On 31 March 2008 regulations were introduced in England and Wales under the Traffic Management Act 2004 Part 6 that should provide motorists with a fairer and more transparent parking enforcement service across the country, helping raise industry standards in parking.

The regulations will require CPE to be more transparent, simple and proportional to motorists, and Local Authorities will have to make clear that enforcement is based on compliance with local parking regulations and not the number of tickets issued.

Councils will have to be more transparent about their parking management policies, undertake regular reviews of policies through consultation with stakeholders and communicate these policies effectively to the public. They are also encouraged to provide training for everyone involved in parking management and enforcement.

Additional powers are being given to independent adjudicators. They will be able to refer cases back to the chief executive of Local Authorities' where a parking contravention has taken place in mitigating circumstances and can ask the Local Authority to consider cancelling the penalty charge.

Enforcement will also be 'proportional' to the contravention's seriousness, with new regulations providing for differential changes. Higher penalties will apply for matters such as parking on a double yellow line and a lesser charge for overstaying in a pay and display bay.

The benefits of parking enforcement and reasons for regulations

Local authorities are now able to ensure that parking policies are implemented effectively. Integration of enforcement and parking policy responsibilities will provide better monitoring of the effectiveness of parking controls and will enable the local authority to be responsive to the public's needs. CPE in Eden will bring benefits to the community by:

  • Encouraging sensible and safe parking.
  • Easing congestion on the roads and enhance traffic flow.
  • Improving safety for drivers and pedestrians.
  • Allowing buses and authorised service vehicles to operate more effectively.
  • Improving the general environment.
  • Improving access to shops, offices and other premises.
  • Improve the turnover and availability of spaces.

The law allows Councils to regulate parking and enforce parking contraventions to further the above aims.

Parking problems

Indiscriminate parking can result in problems for road users and residents. Typical examples of this include:

  • Traffic congestion.
  • Dangerous parking on pavements and in narrow streets.
  • Residential areas used as free all-day car parks by commuters.
  • Illegal parking outside shops, offices, and schools.
  • Parking in disc zones or disabled bays without an appropriate permit or disc.

Frequently asked questions on civil parking enforcement

Why do we have Civil Enforcement Officers?

The Road Regulation Traffic Act 1984 (as amended) enabled Councils to supervise parking places, including enforcement of certain parking regulations. Parking offences were previously dealt with through the criminal court system.

The Road Traffic Act 1991 brought about key changes in the above arrangements. It enabled the Government to make orders so that parking "offences" enforced by Councils were "decriminalised" and brought within the civil enforcement system. At the same time some of the matters previously enforced by the Police could also be decriminalised and would then be enforceable by Councils. It was therefore necessary to appoint Civil Enforcement Officers to carry out this enforcement work as the regulations have since been updated by Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 which provides for civil parking enforcement.

Who is responsible for what in Eden and how is enforcement arranged?

On-street parking issues and traffic regulations are the responsibility of Cumbria County Council. Certain off-street car parks and their regulation are the responsibility of Eden District Council. Ultimate responsibility for enforcement lies with the relevant Council.

Cumbria County Council carries out both on-street and off-street parking enforcement within the Eden area.

Do Civil Enforcement Officers have targets to meet?

Civil Enforcement Officers do not have targets to issue a set number of Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs). The aim of parking enforcement is not to maximise income for Councils but to improve traffic management for the benefit of the whole community.

Why don't the Civil Enforcement Officers offer a flexible service and use their discretion?

A Civil Enforcement Officer has no discretion over the issuing of a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). He/she refers to a list of contraventions against which a PCN can be issued. Drivers can challenge whether a PCN has been issued appropriately. Initially this should be in writing to Eden Parking Services (EPS), within fourteen days of receiving the notice. EPS will assess whether there are any legal grounds for cancellation. Councils are able to consider extenuating circumstances as part of the appeals process when all the evidence can be reviewed by an Appeals Panel. Only Councils have the power to exercise discretion and recommend cancelling a PCN, which should be based on a fair and transparent approach. This is set out in an Appeals Policy that has been approved by Councillors.

What happens to parking income?

The payments generated from issuing PCNs are allocated to a parking account and the cost of operating the enforcement service is deducted. Any surplus parking enforcement income is ring fenced for traffic improvement projects with the agreement of Cumbria County Council, as required by legislation.

Are you unfairly targeting visitors who don't know the system?

The Council's aim is to encourage visitors to come to Eden to add to the vitality and prosperity of the area's market towns. Disc parking schemes offer free time limited parking and are an incentive to both residents and tourists to visit Eden.

See On-street parking and disc zones for details.

Our car park charges are among the lowest in Cumbria, and free coach parking is available is Sandgate car park and in Kirkby Stephen.

Shops and local businesses are displaying posters to promote the parking disc scheme. Information and helpful advice is available on the this website, through the Tourist Information Centres (TICs) and from Civil Enforcement Officers who all aim to promote positive parking.

Find out about Tourist Information Centres in Eden on the Visit Eden website.

Trades people - how to park legally

Trades people wanting to park close to where they are carrying out work should apply for a contractors waiver permit

Parking - Apply for a Contractors Waiver Permit.

How do I avoid getting a PCN?

Penalty Charge Notices are not issued to drivers who comply with the on street traffic regulations and off-street parking orders. Please read the traffic signs, street markings and the parking information panels in the car parks. You can also seek information and advice from any Civil Enforcement Officer or at the Council's offices.

When entering a pay and display car park you should have sufficient change to pay the charges. You should park wholly within the markings of the parking bay.

You should check the information displayed on the sign at the ticket machine to ensure your vehicle is permitted in the car park and for any other local restrictions that may be in place.

If the pay and display machine is out of order you should use the next nearest machine. Purchase your ticket promptly and display it correctly and clearly in the front windscreen of your vehicle. Check the ticket for time of departure before leaving your vehicle. Ensure the ticket is still in place and visible once all vehicle doors are closed and locked.

When parking in a disc zone read the signs which tell you how long you are able to park. Set the parking disc clock at the time of arrival and not the expected departure time. Check the disc is clearly visible before you leave the vehicle.

Last updated: Tuesday, 18 April, 2023.