A 72-year-old pensioner has received a fine for parking his non-electric car in an electric car charging space which didn't yet have a charger.
Dr Stan Frost, from Cheshire, was taking his 99-year-old mother Mary shopping in Blackburn when the incident happened. He says he could see that the parking spaces were intended for electric vehicles, but the sign said they were "for EV charging only." Since the spaces hadn't had their EV chargers installed yet, he assumed it was OK to park there since no one could charge from that space whether he was in it or not.
He also chose the disabled charging space, and displayed his valid disability parking badge.
Nonetheless, parking his diesel-fuelled Nissan Qashqai in the space resulted in a £70 penalty charge notice. He appealed, and was rejected.
Blackburn council told him:
"Our civil enforcement officer observed your vehicle for a minimum of five minutes for charging activity. However none was witnessed and therefore a penalty charge notice was issued."
This is patently ridiculous, because Dr Frost could have been driving the most electric car that ever existed and still would not have been able to charge in the space because it didn't have a charger. The council would have been better off saying "we observed you parking a diesel car in a space that's only for electric cars." That would have at least made some sense.
"When I first received a parking ticket, I thought it was issued by an over-zealous traffic warden and would be cancelled when I lodged an appeal.
I was parked in a disabled bay with a blue badge correctly displayed.
I consider it unreasonable for enforcement to issue a ticket for being ‘parked in an electric vehicle’s charging place during restricted hours without charging’ when charging is unavailable."
Going to the media proved to be the right move, because the Telegraph got involved and the fine was subsequently cancelled. But it shouldn't have been necessary.
Blackburn council operations director Martin Eden commented between shouts of "bah humbug":
"The traffic regulation order states these parking bays must only be used for electric vehicles and they must be charging, therefore the council was within its rights to issue the PCN [Penalty Charge Notice.]
However, given the fact that there was a blue badge displayed and that the electric charging facility was not yet operational, I have agreed to cancel this PCN. I would urge people not to park in the disabled electric charging space as the charging facility will be operational in a few weeks."
Don't charge your non-charging car in a charging space with no charger, people. You terrible scoundrels, you.