Parking enforcement

Since April 6 parking management in Suffolk has moved from the police to local councils  – it has been in operation in Ipswich since 2005 – with the aim of driving down unlawful parking.

However, in light of the current COVID-19 situation, councils will be taking a common-sense view and focussing on tackling obstructive and dangerous parking to ensure emergency, care, delivery, refuse and highways services can get around safely at this challenging time.
As part of the national response to the pandemic; advice from the British Parking Association and the Local Government Association is that parking enforcement is an important public service that keeps roads safe and ensures access to goods and services. This is vitally important, particularly for key workers, as Suffolk’s councils strive to continue providing essential services to their residents.
Councillor Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Rural Affairs, said:
“Despite the unprecedented challenges we are experiencing currently, there are certain projects that continue in the background, and the move of statutory parking enforcement from the police to districts and boroughs is no exception.
“Although this move must take place now, it is extremely important that we are pragmatic in our approach to parking management and enforcement at this time. This builds on the continuing county-wide efforts to tackle the challenges and impacts of COVID-19, with our priority fixed on keeping roads open and safe and to protect parking spaces for healthcare workers, volunteers and people supporting the most vulnerable.
“That is why it is vital that we focus our resource on tackling dangerous and obstructive parking which could hinder key services from carrying out their duties.
“I am pleased that we have reached a consistent county-wide approach in how parking is managed during the coming weeks and months. I very much welcome the cross-council collaborative working in order to deliver better parking for Suffolk. Our colleagues will continue working together to ensure CPE is successfully launched and I look forward to seeing the benefits locally that these changes will bring, now and in the near future.”
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Traditionally, roadside parking offences were a matter for the Police. However, parking has become a lower priority for them, so Suffolk County Council is transferring this responsibility to local district and borough councils under a process known as civil parking enforcement, or CPE. 
Councils already manage public car parks in many towns and villages, so the changes make sense. Suffolk Constabulary is supportive of the move because the transfer of responsibilities frees their time to concentrate on other areas of police demand, to help keep people safe, prevent crime and bring offenders to justice.
Moving the responsibility from the police to local councils requires that statutory notice is given in Parliament – which occurred on 9 January 2020.
CPE has been running successfully in Ipswich since 2005; both Ipswich Borough Council and all the district councils have been working collaboratively with Police and Suffolk County Council in the planning stages to ensure a smooth implementation county-wide.
The change will bring many benefits, including:

  • greater priority given to parking management locally, to help keep traffic moving;
  • district and borough councils empowered to make local decisions in collaboration with towns and parish councils on parking to suit their constituents and local circumstances;
  • irresponsible and nuisance parking being enforced – supporting pedestrians, vulnerable road users, public transport services, drivers and emergency services to use the network more safely;
  • fines associated with parking will be retained in Suffolk – so local towns and parishes can benefit from improved local infrastructure;
  • new jobs created county-wide to support parking management, patrols and enforcement.

Suffolk is one of the last areas in England to take on Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE). CPE already operates successfully in over 300 district council areas in the country and of those without CPE, four are in Suffolk.
In some of our towns across Suffolk, selfish drivers are parking without any regard to the fact that they are blocking the road causing traffic to build up or are cutting access to people’s homes or business premises. In extreme cases, our emergency services rushing to answer 999 calls have been held up by badly parked vehicles.
East Suffolk, Ipswich Borough and West Suffolk Councils will carry out civil parking enforcement in their own areas. Within Babergh & Mid Suffolk these services will be provided by West Suffolk and Ipswich Borough Council.