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London boroughs agree a ‘common-sense’ approach to parking enforcement

Coronavirus: London Councils issues guidance on a pragmatic approach to enforcement of parking and driving offences during pandemic

Mark Moran
23 March 2020
With Londoners staying at home there is increased parking in residential areas
With Londoners staying at home there is increased parking in residential areas


London's boroughs have agreed to adopt a common-sense approach to issuing parking and driving fines in order to help critical workers such as NHS staff, carers and the emergency services travel in the capital.

The approach has been endorsed by London Councils, the body that represents the capital’s 32 borough councils and the City of London. It is a cross-party organisation that works on behalf of all of its member authorities regardless of political persuasion.

Coronavirus has had a significant impact on London’s transport network, said London Councils. Reduced public transport means that key workers are more likely to drive to their place of work or to visit people in the community. At the same time, the majority of Londoners are now staying at home, leading to increased parking in residential areas.

London boroughs are also under pressure due to coronavirus and are rightly prioritising essential services for vulnerable groups such as older people while also carrying out other duties. In response to this, London Councils has issued guidance for London boroughs on a pragmatic approach to enforcement of parking and driving offences during the coronavirus pandemic.

While maintaining safety and keeping traffic flowing remain important priorities and borough enforcement staff should be treated with respect, parking teams will now focus on enforcement of safety-critical controls and assisting key workers helping unwell and vulnerable people.

This could include:

  • relaxing parking restrictions for vital members of staff around hospitals, clinics and emergency services control centres (e.g. no time limit and no charge)
  • giving parking permits to key workers allowing them to park more flexibly if there are no parking spaces available
  • taking into account when drivers demonstrate they are key workers (e.g. when deciding whether to issue a penalty charge notice or when a driver is appealing a penalty)
  • making additional parking spaces available to key workers (e.g. business parking)

Cllr Julian Bell, Chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee said: “NHS staff, the emergency services, carers and community volunteers are leading the fight against coronavirus in the capital and we are all incredibly proud of the work they are doing. The last thing they need is anxiety caused by trying to find a safe place to park.

“That’s why London boroughs are united in taking a pragmatic approach to parking enforcement in these challenging times to help our critical workers do their jobs. All key workers using cars or other vehicles to get around can be reassured that borough parking teams are on their side. We ask that they look to their local council to find out what this means for them.”

London boroughs will be putting this guidance into practice locally on a temporary basis and will keep it under review.

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