Hounslow has already put in place a comprehensive package of services to assist those directly helping fight the Covid-19 outbreak.
Published: Thursday, 2nd April 2020
This package goes beyond that announced last week by providing free parking for the following groups:
- Frontline emergency services workers near their place of work
- Care workers
- Volunteers supporting vulnerable or self-isolating people (extension of the ‘stop & shop’ 30 min parking scheme)
In addition, if any health or care workers who receive penalty charge notices whilst working but are correctly parked in a parking bay, will have their penalty notices cancelled when challenged.
Cllr Hanif Khan, Cabinet Member for Transport at Hounslow Council said: “Further to our previous statement, we are now offering further advice and guidance on parking matters during the current situation. Firstly, a big thank you to all our residents who are driving and parking legally and considerately at this challenging time. As already noted, all our parking restrictions and controls currently remain in place and enforcement activity is continuing. This is in line with the guidance issued by central government and also London Councils. Some residents have queried whether this is necessary, however we are maintaining enforcement of these controls for good reason".
They include the following:
- Traffic management rules and waiting restrictions (yellow lines) are in place to help ensure the safety of people using the network. We must do all we can to reduce pressure on the NHS and therefore allowing unsafe parking practices to occur that then may lead to collisions and injuries is something we must avoid.
- It is vital that vehicular access to people’s properties by emergency services, but also for other purposes such as refuse collection, is maintained at all times.
- Unsafe parking can block access to the network for those with mobility impairments, severely limiting their ability to get around and carry out basic activities.
- The council has received complaints from residents, including key workers, that they can't find anywhere to park near their homes after returning from long shifts as a consequence of high parking demand on residential roads. Relaxing parking controls such as CPZs would only exacerbate this problem further.
- We want to ensure that there remains some turning over of parking spaces near shops so that there is good availability for people visiting and purchasing food and other essential goods for themselves and vulnerable residents - as well as space for loading and unloading of supplies for the shops themselves. Removing parking charges and controls would likely lead to long term parking occurring in these locations.
Whilst the council is taking a common-sense approach to enforcement, the rules have to remain if the system is going to work for everyone as best as it can do in these exceptional times. There has been a significant decline in the number of fines issued in recent days which shows the vast majority of people are observing the rules.
The council would also like to remind all residents that any income it receives from parking activities is by law ring-fenced and re-invested into the network. In Hounslow the vast majority of this income covers the cost of providing concessionary fare services such as the older persons freedom pass and disabled persons blue badge scheme.