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One in seven Brighton and Hove parking tickets overturned
One in seven parking tickets issued in Brighton and Hove have been ripped up after being challenged.
More than £1 million worth of fines have been cancelled in the past two years by council officials after angry drivers refused to pay them. 31,517 tickets were quashed in 2010 and 2011 out of the 225,000 that were issued.
The successful challenges came from a total of 75,000 tickets that were appealed – a rate of almost 42%.
That rate was dwarfed by Chichester where nine out of ten tickets disputed were successfully challenged – the highest of any council in country the surveyed.
Council officers said successful challenges often arose when parking attendants had no way of finding out why a vehicle was parked illegally.
On average last year, 44 motorists every day successfully challenged a parking ticket in Brighton and Hove, saving them a minimum of £35 each.
Brighton and Hove City Council has 16 staff who deal with disputed parking tickets which have been issued by parking wardens employed by outsourcing firm NSL.
In Chichester, 5,264 motorists successfully challenged their tickets out of a total of 5,752 motorists who launched an appeal.
The figures were released by insurance firm swiftcover.com using Freedom of Information data.
Steve Percy, of the People’s Parking Protest, said: “I think you’ll find that a lot of these tickets are challenged on a technicality where the traffic warden has ticked the wrong box or not filled the form out correctly and there’s no real excuse for getting that wrong.
"Other challenges come from lines missing that haven’t been repainted after roadworks or where road markings or signs are unclear.”
A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said: “There are many reasons why an appeal can be successful and it’s exceptionally rare that a ticket has been incorrectly issued.
“Parking attendants cannot be expected to be aware of the full circumstances as to why a vehicle is incorrectly parked and this is why the appeal process exists so that we can take account of factors outside the drivers’ control.
“These can include mitigating circumstances such as a medical emergency or a vehicle breaking down.”
A spokeswoman for Chichester District Council said: “We want to treat everyone fairly. If they have a valid reason we will withdraw the penalty charge notice.”
An NSL spokesman said: “We instruct all of our civil enforcement officers to issue tickets according to clear rules and regulations.
“Neither NSL nor our officers have any incentive, financial or otherwise, linked to the issue of penalty charge notices and we are very strictly regulated to ensure any tickets issued are legitimate.
“Our staff perform an important public service, keeping the streets clear, traffic flowing and ensuring that all drivers have fair access to parking spaces.”