FTA welcomes Chris Grayling’s intervention in halting TfL plans to raise red route fines

Plans to increase the cost of red route penalty charge notices (PCNs) in London have been blocked by transport secretary Chris Grayling.

TfL consulted on raising the cost of red route fines for illegal parking and non-payment of the Congestion Charge last autumn from £130 to £160 (or from £65 to £85 for early payment).

It said this would help tackle congestion and improve road safety on some of the capital’s main arterial routes.

According to TfL, existing charges had become an ineffective deterrent and that the number of “repeat offender” motorists issued with multiple fines was rising.

However, the FTA claimed that research had not been carried out to determine if multiple PCNs were being issued to vans and trucks belonging to delivery companies with no legal place to drop-off vital goods.

It did not believe evidence showed that increased fines would have reduced illegal stopping.

The DfT has now confirmed that the transport secretary has intervened to stop the increases and has written to the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to explain his decision.

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FTA head of urban policy Natalie Chapman said of the move: “FTA raised its very serious concerns about these increases from the outset.  I am relieved Mr Grayling was able to see the injustice of the plans and intervene to stop them. “

She added: “TfL's own research points to a growth in repeat offending, which means many of the vehicles getting these penalty notices are likely to be trucks and vans.  They need to park on red routes to complete vital collections and deliveries.  In many cases, there is simply nowhere else for drivers to stop legally.”

Chapman said that no responsible truck or van operator wants to break the law, and that keeping red route moving is “in everybody’s interests”.

The FTA will now work with TfL to find a solution to the problem, she added: “Freight is the capital's lifeline and the companies which keep the city moving should not be penalised for doing a fantastic job under difficult circumstances."

Responding to MT, Paul Cowperthwaite, TfL general manager for road user charging, said: "We enforce traffic regulations with the sole purpose of keeping traffic moving safely and efficiently for the benefit of everyone. Vehicles that block roads, drive in bus lanes, park incorrectly or make banned turns, both inconvenience other road users and create hazards.

“There has been a 12% increase in the number of motorists being issued with PCNs in the last five years, which shows that the deterrent factor of the existing PCN has reduced over time. We believe that an increased PCN level would help improve compliance, and therefore help make our roads safer for everyone."

TfL said it is now considering the letter from Grayling and in discussions with DfT officials about next steps to increase the deterrent for offences that take place on its road network, to ensure that London remains "an efficient, well-functioning global city"

It estimated that the cost of congestion on the TRLN alone (TfL's road network) is annually worth almost £2.2bn.

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