Ealing Permit Renewal 'Unfair' To Those Without Internet

Local successfully appeals PCN issued after Ealing Council substitutes emails for reminders by letter

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A local councillor claims that Ealing Council needs to change its annual parking permit renewal system which recently switched from letter 'reminders' to email. Cllr Gary Malcolm said it excludes a section of the community which does not email or internet access.

It follows a judgement in the Parking Appeals Tribunal where a W4 resident successfully appealed a PCN which was issued when the resident's parking permit was seen to be out of date.

Ealing Council had recently switched to reminders by email instead of by letter as it started to issue digital permits, similar to the new way of renewing tax discs. The Council did not have an email address for the claimant.

The claimant had been renewing parking permits annually for fifteen year without incident but had not received a reminder letter, due to the new system which issues only email reminders, and forgot to renew the permit on time. When he received the PCN he took steps to renew the permit, but the local authority initially refused to cancel the charge and he appealed.

Ealing Council said today that 90% of permit holders had signed up for email reminders, and those who hadn't could either ask a friend if they could use their email address, or make a note in the calendar to renew their permit.

The adjudicator said he was satisfied that for fifteen years the resident had received a reminder letter but did not do so this year. He said the Enforcement Authority could have issued a warning first before issuing the PCN and he recommended that the local authority cancel the charge. This has now been done.

Southfield Liberal Democrat councillor Gary Malcolm said this new method of using email excluded large sections of the community.

“The judgement indicates that Ealing Council should not only offer parking renewal notices by email, as this excludes many sections of the community, who do not use IT. Refunding the ticket shows they now have to change their processes. Liberal Democrats are pressing for this change.”

Cllr Malcolm said in his view the Council should send a reminder letter about renewing parking permits if it did not have an email address for residents. This was particularly important for elderly or vulnerable residents.

A statement from Ealing Council today (April 13) said:"We have email addresses for close to 90% of permit holders who will automatically receive a reminder when their permit is due to expire. We are writing to those who haven’t given us their email to encourage them to register and suggest those who don’t already have one, sign up for an email account.

"Drivers who still do not have an email address are urged to either record the date in a calendar or ask a friend or relative if they can use their email address. Although it is the responsibility of drivers to remember to renew their parking permit on time, we do give people 7 days’ grace after their permit expires before we issue PCNs.

“In this particular case, although we weren’t obliged to, we cancelled the customer’s PCN as a gesture of good will.”


April 13, 2016

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