People who park without concern for other road users in the Falkirk Council area have been served with their final warning.
On Monday, November 19, the council is launching a decriminalised parking enforcement scheme (DPE).
Notices have been placed at hot-spots across the district, warning selfish parkers that their days of flouting the rules of the road are numbered.
Police Scotland will retain responsibility for enforcing dangerous or obstructive parking and all moving traffic offences.
But as of November 19, the council’s parking attendants will also be issuing penalty charge notices to drivers who ignore waiting, loading and parking restrictions.
The level of penalty charge is fixed nationally across Scotland at £60. This charge will be reduced to £30 if the penalty charge is paid within 14 days.
If unpaid, the charge may be increased to £90 and the council’s Sheriff Officers will collect payment.
Russell Steedman, the council’s network co-ordinator, explained why the measure was necessary.
He said: “Previously, Police Scotland had a Community Traffic Warden service to look after the enforcement of waiting, loading and parking restrictions.
“This arrangement changed some time ago and we will now be taking over those responsibilities.
“We will be responsible for the control of public parking throughout the area.
“For far too long people have ignored the rules and regulations governing on-street parking.
“Selfish parkers are staying in loading bays all day, using disabled bays without a blue badge or parking on double and single yellow lines.
“There are other areas of concern too, such as the grass verge at the Helix.
“In effect, nothing has really changed. All we’re doing is enforcing parking laws which already exist.
“But the number of parking attendants we have will increase to seven.
“The team already regulate the council’s car parks but will now be targeting problem locations across the council area.
“This will be of no concern to people who follow the parking rules that already exist in our town centres.
“But posters have been placed across the district to warn those drivers who are not quite so courteous.”
Parking attendants, who are employed directly by the council, will wear clearly identifiable blue uniforms.
They will use hand-held devices to store information, including photographic evidence of the parking contravention for which they are issuing a penalty notice.
Each attendant will also wear a body camera to record any incidents or inappropriate behaviour.
Russell said: “Our team will not be confrontational but they will be wearing these cameras to record any threatening or abusive behaviour for future police investigation purposes.”
Contrary to popular belief, parking attendants will not be given targets – or any bonuses – for the number of penalty charge notices they issue.
They will, however, target areas where illegal parking is an issue.
Russell said: “This is not a money-making exercise. All monies raised will cover the cost of the scheme and any surplus used for roads projects in the council area.
“Primarily, it’s about improving road safety and access in town centres.
“It’s about making life easier for drivers who want to park short term, disabled blue badge holders and buses which have to manoeuvre through busy traffic, for example on Grahams Road.”
Posters have been widely displayed across the council’s area, warning drivers that they could face a penalty charge notice if they continue to park illegally.
And Russell and his team hope that parents of school children will also pay heed.
He said: “There will be one part time and six full time parking attendants to cover the area, year round.
“It is a limited resource. Therefore, we will be targeting areas highlighted as hot-spots, as we can’t be everywhere all of the time.
“We will be relying on the goodwill of parents to park responsibly outside the school gates.
“Double and single yellow lines are there for a reason – to ensure the safety of all road users.
“That’s particularly important for drivers to consider at our schools.
“We want parents to think about their own child’s safety and that of other pupils too.
“Simply parking a short distance away and walking their child to the school gates every day could make a huge difference.”
Offenders at local schools will also receive a penalty charge notice.
“We will be responsible for enforcing parking regulations and that includes those vehicles parked near schools,” said Russell.
Legitimate blue badge holders are also being asked to help the parking attendants by properly displaying their blue badges.
Russell added: “If people have a blue badge, legally they need to display it to park in a disabled bay. By doing so, parking attendants will know that car is parked legally.
“There is a problem with people parking in disabled bays who are not entitled to.
“It is these selfish parkers our attendants will be aiming to target – not those who are legitimately entitled to park in a disabled bay.”
The scheme begins on Monday, November 19. To find out more, visit www.falkirk.gov.uk/parklegally.