Parking problems already have councillors scratching their heads but new laws could have them tearing their hair out.
West Lothian Council’s Roads and Transportation manager, Graeme Malcolm, outlined the progress of the Transportation Bill through Holyrood. The 90-plus pages cover a range on issues including inconsiderate parking. The bill has cleared its first reading.
At a recent Development and Transport PDSP meeting, Provost Tom Kerr said: “The bill talks about poor or inconsiderate parking. Who is going to police this? Will the Scottish Government instruct Police Scotland to do it, or will it get landed on local authorities?”
Mr Malcolm acknowledged “this is an obvious issue around the chamber” and added that the current proposal makes parking control a power.
He added: “The key thing is if it remains a power then you have the option to use that power. If the parliament makes it a duty then it’s a very different proposition for the council to deal with.”
He cautioned against doing nothing: “The council will come under pressure from its communities who see it as something the council could use but choose not to. It is very much watch this space as to whether it continues to be a power or becomes something more.”
While some local authorities control parking through wardens, West Lothian’s minority Labour administration controversially dropped this from its budget plans this year – and the potential to collect about £1 million over five years.
Complaints about inconsiderate parking on pavements, blocking exits and junctions can be heard in every town and village across the county.
The council’s only paid-for car park went free in Linlithgow three months ago when the company quit its contract – losing the council thousands of pounds.