Suffolk anger over Department for Transport’s delay in approving parking enforcement changes
- Credit: Gregg Brown
The Department for Transport's (DfT) refusal to approve key changes to parking enforcement powers in Suffolk for yet another 12 months has left county leaders fuming.
From April 2019, civil parking enforcement is due to transfer from Suffolk police to the relevant borough and district councils.
But despite the move being encouraged by the DfT, and councils offering other measures to allow it to happen on time, the DfT has said that there is not enough time.
A letter from the secretary of state Chris Grayling to Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said that the 'Parliamentary timetable means that it simply will not be possible for us to draft, check, prepare and deposit the legislative order you require in time for your deadline of April 2019.'
Leaders offered to draw up the necessary legal documents, and submit the application several months early, but DfT bosses still said it would not be feasible.
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At last Friday's Suffolk leaders meeting, Tim Passmore said: 'I am absolutely furious about it – it's a local example of incompetent government. All they have to do is sign off on it.
'I just find it extraordinary where this would help everybody in this county that the DfT has just been so obstructive.'
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Suffolk Constabulary is bound to continue operating it until the changeover has been completed, but the DfT's response has left it unsure of when that will be, and has left further uncertainties about how it will fund parking enforcement and for how long.
Suffolk Constabulary chief constable Gareth Wilson said that officers 'are still committed to being able to do what we can'.
Mr Passmore said that it was a matter of drafting one A4 document, and added that public leaders were working with the county's MPs to put pressure on the DfT.
Currently, Ipswich Borough Council is the only council in Suffolk to operate its parking enforcement.
Money collected from parking enforcement by police is sent to central government, but when collected by local authorities will be retained for use in the county.
Suffolk County Council leader Colin Noble said it would continue to get everything in place ready for the changeover, although would not be able to start recruiting until completion.