Exeter bailiffs now chasing old parking fines
MORE than £200,000 owed to Exeter City Council in outstanding parking fines will be pursued now that a debt collection system has been put in place.
Figures released following a Freedom of Information request show how the amount of unpaid fines has quadrupled over the past three years, from £48,861 in 2010 to £213,834 at the end of 2012.
The figure has been rising because the city council has been trying to get "necessary and appropriate debt recovery arrangements" in place.
The council carries out civil parking enforcement on behalf of Devon County Council.
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In 2010, a total of £511,537 was collected; in 2011 it was £552,694; and in 2012 it was £568,651.
And while the amount collected showed a slight rise, the amount outstanding grew rapidly.
A city council spokesman said: "The amounts outstanding have increased as a result of a delay in getting the necessary and appropriate debt recovery arrangements in place.
"They are now in place and outstanding debts will be pursued through our appointed certificated bailiffs."
It is likely to mean anyone with outstanding fines dating back several years will soon be receiving notice from the council that it will be pursuing the debt.
He added: "We are using certificated bailiffs to recover outstanding debts under the statutory process set out in the Traffic Management Act and associated guidance.
"The delays in getting to this stage were not caused by an oversight but simply the time required to go through a proper procurement process, put in place the necessary IT systems and arrange for the secure transmission of data."
The Freedom of Information request also showed how much is collected through fines accrued through on-street parking and off-street parking (ie car parks). In 2010, the split was £43,366/£5,495); in 2011 £138,624/£16,364; and in 2012 £194,539/£19,295.
While the council can dictate where fines collected from off-street parking can be spent, the fines from on-street parking go to the county council.
A city council spokesman said: "Off-street parking charge notice income contributes towards the city council's overall expen-diture in Exeter on parking and other services.
"We think the civil parking enforcement regime has worked pretty well in responding to the needs of Exeter as a place to live, work and do business."
A spokesman for Devon County Council said cash from parking fines, after the city costs were covered, went on transports and highways works such as traffic management schemes and public transport subsidies.