We have a parking policy to provide a framework which sets out how we normally manage parking at the roadside and in car parks
- Part 1 of this document explains how the policy framework links the work of the Parking Partnership to the county council’s long-term plans.
- Part 2 sets out how district and city councils of the Parking Partnership can set local priorities for patrols and pricing which support the long-term plan.
The policy framework explains our duties and compliance with Statutory Guidance issued by the Department for Transport. The guidance requires authorities to publicise both the policies and management system to ensure that the public is aware of the legislation and how it is to be applied.
This webpage was created in November 2022
Part 1: The County’s long-term plans
This part sets out the long-term plans and principles and of Essex County Council with regard to the management of roadside parking in Essex. The county council’s plans are designed to ensure that a consistent approach is taken to roadside parking across Essex, so that it benefits the public, the city and district councils in the two Parking Partnerships and the county council.
Through its Local Transport Plan, the county council has the aims of tackling congestion; improving accessibility; improving safety; and reducing air pollution. Essex County Council is the Highway Authority and it has a responsibility under the Traffic Management Act as Traffic Manager, so it is important that the Parking Partnerships share the same plans for the service.
Part 1: The County’s long-term plans – how the framework links Essex County Council’s Local Transport Plan (LTP) sets out its long-term plan:
The County Council, working jointly with these partnerships, will develop an Essex Parking Strategy in order to ensure the management of parking across Essex is consistent with the aims of the Essex Transport Strategy.
Through the development of an Essex Parking Strategy, our Parking Policy supports the LTP Traffic Management Objective of Congestion and Network Resilience: The County Council will facilitate the improved reliability of journeys.
The LTP Traffic Management Strategy also includes:
- Working in partnership with the Essex district councils to improve the management of parking within urban areas, including the possible development of Park & Ride facilities to remove traffic from congested corridors.
- Stronger parking enforcement, particularly where illegally parked vehicles impede traffic flows or block access by public transport.
- Working with partners to improve the management of goods deliveries, ensuring that appropriate vehicles are used, and that delivery and loading does not inhibit traffic flows.
Main Priorities – The County’s long-term plans
The County Council has defined a functional road hierarchy of routes where the focus should be predominantly to facilitate the movement of through traffic. The Parking Partnerships should ensure that each route is treated as required through that hierarchy.
Parking restrictions should be used to enhance the safety of road users, for example, protecting visibility at junctions, bends, crossing points, or in areas with high numbers of pedestrian movements where pedestrians could be masked by parked cars; preserving road space required for large vehicles such as buses to make manoeuvres safely and without delay. Alternately, the presence of parked vehicles can also enhance safety, acting as a form of “traffic calming” slowing vehicles in low speed residential roads.
The management of parking charges and availability of parking spaces can have a positive impact on the levels of congestion in town centres, encouraging drivers to use alternative forms of transport. On key routes and junctions, parking restrictions should be used to allow the free-flow of traffic on through and radial routes, particularly where these form part of a passenger transport corridor. In narrow streets, restrictions should also be used to facilitate the safe passage of passenger transport and emergency vehicles.
Improving Air Quality
Overall, management of congestion and delays, as well as the encouragement of modal shift to forms of transport other than the private car, have benefits in terms of reducing carbon, emissions and improving air quality.
Part 2: The Partnership’s Parking Framework – putting plans into practice locally
The North Essex Parking Partnership’s Parking Management Policy provides a framework which helps the Partnership to manage on-street parking. The framework provides for effective parking management activities and seeks to put the county’ policy and long-term plans into a local context.
The North Essex Parking Partnership’s Parking Management Policy provides a framework which helps the Partnership to manage on-street parking. The framework provides for effective parking management activities and seeks to put the county’ policy and long-term plans into a local context.
This helps meet the needs of all road users by clearly prioritising the different parking management needs across the Partnership area. The aim is to manage parking in the Partnership area on a fair and consistent basis.
- The framework identifies the ways that the policy will guide the Parking Partnership’s patrols and operations, including pricing where deemed necessary, to help manage kerbside parking.
- The Parking Protocols document explains how the Parking Partnership will normally carry out these policies.
Together the two documents will ensure that a clear but fair policy is applied to operations that combine to support efficient and effective parking management against local needs.
The framework prioritises clearly the county’s parking management, giving emphasis to the needs of people with disabilities, residents, visitors and businesses, helping to manage parking in the Partnership’s council areas. The Partnership’s framework includes the core principles of fairness, transparency and consistency.
The framework helps to create a better and safer environment and aims to provide effective on-street parking management across the Partnership area by supporting the following County-wide Parking Policy strategic outcomes.
Policy framework key priorities:
- Congestion – Reducing congestion, helping drivers find spaces quickly and easily
- Safety – Improving road safety, reducing the severity and number of traffic collisions
- Air Quality – Improving air quality, reducing congestion and dwell time in finding spaces
- Accessibility – Improving access to services and the economic vitality and vibrancy of town centres and high streets
- Working Together – Providing a more efficient and accessible road network
- Technology – Supporting a more mobile society by embracing new technology
- Fairness – Delivering a more effective, efficient and consistent parking management service
Key Priorities: In more detail
Reducing congestion, helping drivers find spaces quickly and easily.
Making it easier to park – reducing congestion and delays caused by vehicles looking for parking spaces
- Suitable parking restrictions in town centre areas will ensure free flow of traffic and to encourage visitors to the town to park in the designated parking areas available, preventing unnecessary congestion and obstruction and the potential for road traffic accidents.
- Restrictions around junctions will allow traffic to flow more freely, further reducing the potential for congestion.
- Emergency and service vehicles will be able to operate more effectively along roads and low floor buses will be able to reach the kerb at bus stops since fewer inconsiderately parked vehicles will be in their way.
Improving road safety, reducing the severity and number of traffic collisions.
Making Roads Safer – by reducing the number and severity of collisions caused by poorly parked vehicles
- Research shows that improperly or inappropriately parked vehicles can be a common cause or contributory factor in Road Traffic Collisions; parking restrictions can help to reduce the occurrence of the type of parking.
- The positioning of parking bays can also be a major contributor to reduction in traffic speeds in what should be low speed residential or retail areas.
- It will be safer for drivers and pedestrians since the new focus on enforcement means clearer roads and pavements.
- With fewer illegally parked cars there will be fewer accidents, better traffic flow and accessibility, because the focus of enforcement will be on lessening inconsiderate and dangerous illegal parking to improve safety and minimise congestion.
- Sensible and safe parking within the Partnership area will be encouraged – as will greater compliance with Traffic Regulations.
- Road safety initiatives (especially for pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users), and emergency access requirements.
- The Partnership will manage local parking problem areas, e.g. for child safety near schools caused by the school run (including Safer Routes to School initiatives) and associated short-stay on-street parking activity.
3. Air Quality
Improving air quality, reducing congestion and dwell time in finding spaces.
Making it easier to breathe – by reducing congestion, a major contributor to air pollution.
- Reducing the effect of transport on the environment.
- Traffic is a major contributor to reduced air quality levels, particularly traffic which is queuing in areas of limited capacity or obstructed by parked vehicles.
- As well as reducing the wasted engine running time (idling), simply reducing the number of vehicles will have positive effects.
- The general environment will improve by providing a more environmentally efficient transport system in terms of reducing congestion, energy conservation; use of other modes of transport will be encouraged such as walking and cycling (healthy options).
Improving access to services and the economic vitality and vibrancy of town centres and high streets.
Making high streets and town centres more appealing and vibrant – by making them more accessible, less congested and easier to navigate.
- Improves access to jobs and services.
- Secures public transport availability for those without their own transport or who choose not to use it because of the parking restrictions.
- It will be better for local businesses since areas of short-term parking such as those outside local shops will receive more attention, increasing the potential for local trade.
- Legitimate parking and loading requirements of businesses, considering commercial needs for delivery and servicing movements and the opportunity for changing delivery schedules and vehicle sizes.
- Supporting the safe and efficient operation of the public transport network, especially on low-floor bus corridors.
5. Working together
Providing a more efficient and accessible road network.
Making the UK’s road network more efficient and effective – through joined up thinking and sharing of good practice nationwide.
- Encourage healthier travel choices and employer travel plans.
- Some drivers will switch to alternative travel methods such as walking and cycling, either for recreational or commuting purposes.
- Former car drivers will create an increased demand for public transport which if acted upon will increase the viability of public transport services generally, with benefits for all users.
- Depending on the availability of parking facilities at the place of work, parking restrictions may encourage companies to take a look at their employees travel habits.
- Companies may assist in reducing the overall level of dependence on the private car by assisting in car sharing arrangements or they might provide facilities such as cycle parking, changing rooms and showers.
- Single responsibility for parking means greater clarity to the public.
- The Council’s integrated transport strategy can be linked to local issues in enforcement.
- Since income will come to the Council, any surpluses after reasonable running costs can be spent on transport projects in the local area.
- Coordinating on- and off-street parking management to ensure a comprehensive and complementary approach.
Supporting a more mobile society by embracing new technology.
Making journeys smarter – by adopting new
payment and journey planning technologies.
- Parking provision will become more responsive to the public’s needs because the local Council will control both provision and management of parking.
- Maximising the potential of information technology (IT) to support an effective and efficient parking management operation.
Delivering a more effective, efficient and consistent parking management service.
Making parking management fairer – by helping people to understand parking regulations and how to follow them.
- Raising revenue is not the objective of the Parking Partnership, nor are targets set for Civil Enforcement Officers to issue a set number of PCNs.
- The purpose of issuing PCN’s is not to generate revenue but rather to discourage dangerous, careless and negligent parking, to deter motorists from breaking the parking regulations and promote greater compliance.
- Ideally parking operations should be self-financing through running patrols effectively and economically when practicable. CPE need not be self-financing providing a Local Authority can meet the cost from existing funding.
- It will increase parking for residents by discouraging commuters from parking in permit only areas.
- It will increase Blue Badge benefits since the increased enforcement of existing parking spaces for Blue Badge Holders will improve availability for Blue Badge holders.
- It will support town centre needs by encouraging commuters and other drivers to use long stay car parks where appropriate thereby freeing up short stay car park spaces for drivers who need them.
- The needs of disabled people and effective enforcement of parking regulations to enable easy access to activities and facilities.
- Enforcement against observed parking patterns of demand to allow targeting of known problem areas.
- Allocating parking permits/waivers with clear conditions of use based on transparent and consistent principles, which give priority in accordance with the defined hierarchy of parking management
Policy Framework – Purpose of Parking Management
Parking management includes the patrol and operation of on and off-street parking regulations. Its aim is to speed the journey of traffic to a suitable parking space.
As part of parking management, patrols are carried out to maximise compliance with regulations to make our streets safer for all road users, particularly vulnerable road users; to prevent obstruction and delays (especially for buses and emergency vehicles); to ensure that parking bays are available for their intended use and to improve the general street scene.
Policy framework – detail and context
Inconsiderate parking contravenes the Highway Code, which requires drivers to show consideration for all road users. Certain parking contraventions remain the responsibility of the Police (zig-zag pedestrian crossings, obstruction and restriction of access where there are no yellow lines) and the Parking Partnership will work together with Essex Constabulary to communicate relevant information between both stakeholders.
Under the framework the Partnership is responsible for parking management including patrols and operations in its Special Parking Area under an agreement with the County Council. The County council has delegated the powers in North Essex via a Joint Committee to the Parking Partnership to the lead authority of Colchester City Council.
Scope and benefits of Parking Management
Illegal parking is inconsiderate; it can be dangerous. Illegal parking on double yellow lines and footways can cause a serious road safety hazard. The basis for effective parking management is fair, consistent, transparent, policy-driven and quality-led and evidence-based operational patrols.
As competing parking demands intensify and conflict, the need for skilled and effective on-street parking management based on clearly defined priorities increases.
Patrols will be organised and reallocated to tackle problem areas. The framework specification provides a schedule and prescribes the hierarchy of operations including patrol visits (high priority, medium or low), dependent upon the location type, whilst providing freedom to vary according to temporary or local circumstances as directed by the Committee. This will ensure a good parking management regime that is both consistent and transparent.
The Parking Management Policy framework focuses on Customer needs by:
- Ensuring an efficient, robust and customer-friendly parking system.
- Effective tackling of parking fraud, and abuse of the Blue Badge Scheme.
- Ensuring an effective, fair and consistent enforcement operation to maximise compliance with the Partnership’s parking regulations and the Traffic Management Act 2004.
- Consulting and communicating with both internal and external stakeholders to inform parking management issues.
Effective traffic management relies on suitable implementation of parking controls. There are many different forms of parking control and careful consideration must be given when designing new schemes. The Partnership will review existing and new parking restrictions to ensure the schemes are necessary and suitable for purpose. More details are contained in the Traffic Regulation Orders Policy.
Requests for new schemes will be processed through the North Essex Parking Partnership using the Policy and forms for Traffic Regulation Orders.
The preferred Partnership option for residents who experience commuter parking problems is to introduce a resident parking scheme. The cost of the annual permit to park in these designated areas will help fund the implementation of the scheme and the continued daily patrols of the area. Residents Parking permits are issued to compliant applications by
the Parking Partnership for the use of designated parking places in resident parking zones.
In areas where limited waiting parking is available, serving local businesses and shops, the preferred option to provide effective and efficient operations is to introduce short stay on-street pay and display. This method ensures greater compliance of the parking control and ensures the spaces are available for the intended use. A by- product of this type of control is pay and display income which will help fund the implementation of the scheme and the continued daily patrols of the area.
Any proposals for resident parking and on street pay and display will only be determined by consultation with affected persons with the decision to go ahead with a scheme being based on a simple majority of those responding and being agreed by the Joint Committee.
Fees and charges
Within the North Essex Parking Partnership, a single financial account is maintained for on-street parking, including resident permits or parking bays (cashless or pay-and-display). Charging levels for residents parking and on-street pay-and display will be determined at a local level, through the Joint Committee, in order to achieve the aim of a balanced budget, and in line with legislation.
A County wide parking policy strategic outcome is to operate the service with financial sustainability. Future charging levels will also need to take account of the cost of delivering robust and efficient operations, considering future investments for new equipment, vehicles, and technology.
Methods of operation
The Traffic Management Act 2004 provides local authorities options for issuing a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). The preferred options of the Parking Partnership are;
- A CEO in person, issuing a PCN via a handheld device and printer
- Is suing a PCN via post (in instances where a CEO was prevented from serving a PCN or the vehicle drove away)
- A mobile patrol vehicle fitted with a camera, or a fixed camera, using an approved device and operating within the requirements of the Deregulation Act 2015. The Partnership utilises a CCTV vehicle to effectively enforce Clearways at bus stops and school keep clear markings.
The TMA 2004 enables local authorities to make use of Immobilisation and Removal Powers, principally to remove obstructions on the highway or at special events. In some circumstances, the North Essex Parking Partnership will carry out these activities. In doing so, the Statutory Guidance and all relevant legislation will be followed.
The scope of general hours of operation will generally be between 07.30 to 20.00 Mondays to Sundays with additional hours as and when required from early morning to late evening on occasion – in order to patrol of “at any time” restrictions. The Partnership will regularly review operation hours and patrol provision and operations.
The Parking Partnership will consider requests for parking dispensation and suspension from contractors to ensure necessary development works can progress. Each application will be considered on merit and will take into account location, safety, traffic flow and alternative parking provision.
In parts of the Partnership area, footway parking currently takes place. In these areas parked vehicles dominate the street scene and can cause dangerous obstruction to other road users, such as parents with pushchairs and visually/ mobility impaired people and wheelchair users.
Footway parking also results in higher maintenance costs for local Councils since footways are not designed to take the weight of motor vehicles and, as such, damage to the pavement can occur.
The Parking Partnership will seek to minimise inappropriate footway parking in the Partnership area where enforceable, (i.e. where there are parking restrictions or at places where dropped kerbs can be enforced, or other regulations introduced) to ensure that local pedestrian access and amenity is not adversely affected.
Abandoned vehicles are an environmental nuisance and can be associated with anti-social behaviour. Abandoned vehicles not only cause an unnecessary hazard wherever they are dumped, they also have a serious impact on residents’ quality of life and fear of crime in the local area; Civil Enforcement Officers will report potential abandoned and untaxed vehicles on the street.
The Essex County Council’s Social Services administers parking permits for disabled people under the Blue Badge Scheme, which allows Blue Badge Holders considerable flexibility in where they can park on street.
Badge holders can park free of charge without
time limit in many areas, provided a valid Blue Badge is displayed, the bay has not been suspended and the vehicle is being used to transport the Blue Badge holder.
Blue Badge holders are also allowed to park for a maximum of 3 hours on single and double yellow lines, except where there is a loading ban or where a bus or cycle lane is in operation.
The parking operational priorities are set out here and in more detail below:
Hierarchy for Managing Parking
- Near accident locations such as junctions
- Near Pedestrian Crossings causing danger by double parking or on Pedestrian Footways
- Aid to movement, preventing obstruction and congestion on:
- Main access roads into major urban centres (Principal Roads)
- Town Centre shopping streets, Public Transport routes, main traffic routes (Non-principal Road) and other busy streets (Access Roads to Residential Areas/Local Shopping Parades)
- Preventing hindrance to road users at bus stops, vehicle accesses, pedestrian access routes, taxi Ranks, special entertainment events.
- Management of the conveyance and delivery of goods in town and neighbourhood centres balanced against the movement and convenience of residents and tourists.
- Designated parking bays.
Control effective use of permitted parking areas:
- Encouraging the use of City/District Council and private Car parks, designated use Bays, time limited and Pay & Display bays, Permit parking.
- Tackling fraudulent use of blue badges
Preventing dangers due to parking:
|Near Accident locations such|
|PRIORITY HIGH||Mainly patrols of single and double yellow line restrictions and loading restrictions at or|
close to junctions and bends particularly where visibility is poor to minimise dangers to
moving traffic, pedestrians and other road users.
|Near Pedestrian Crossings||PRIORITY HIGH||Mainly preventing danger to pedestrians at crossing places. (This does not include the offence|
of stopping on white zigzag markings, where police enforcement action takes precedence).
|Dangerous or double parking||PRIORITY HIGH||Mainly where drivers are parked on the carriageway but in a manner that is likely to cause a|
hazard to other drivers and road users.
|On Pedestrian Footways||PRIORITY MEDIUM||Mainly patrols of single and double yellow line restrictions and loading restrictions where|
drivers are using the footway causing obstruction and hazard to pedestrians, wheelchair and
pushchair users. This also applies where there are no yellow line restrictions in the Traffic
Aid to Movement
Preventing obstruction and congestion on:
|Main access roads into|
towns (Principal Roads).
|PRIORITY HIGH||Mainly patrols of single and double yellow line restrictions and loading restrictions to enable|
traffic to flow freely and not be hindered by parked vehicles.
|Town Centre shopping streets||PRIORITY HIGH||Mainly patrols of double yellow line restrictions and loading restrictions to enable essential|
traffic to access the town centre and not be hindered by illegally parked vehicles.
|Public Transport routes||PRIORITY MEDIUM||Mainly patrols of single and double yellow line restrictions and loading restrictions to enable|
bus traffic to flow freely and not be hindered by illegally parked vehicles,
|Main traffic routes within|
towns (Non-principal Road)
|PRIORITY MEDIUM||Mainly patrols of single and double yellow line restrictions and loading restrictions to enable|
traffic to flow freely and not be hindered by illegally parked vehicles,
|Other busy streets (Access|
Roads to Residential Areas/
Local Shopping Parades)
|PRIORITY LOW||Mainly patrols of single and double yellow line restrictions to enable traffic to flow freely and|
not be hindered by illegally parked vehicles
Obstruction & Nuisance
Preventing hindrance to road users at:
|Bus Stops||PRIORITY HIGH||Patrols of No Stopping Except Buses restriction in marked Bus Stop locations (where there|
is a wide yellow line marking) to prevent obstruction of bus stops.
|Vehicle Accesses||PRIORITY HIGH||Mainly prevention of obstruction to private driveways that have yellow line restrictions.|
This is particularly important where residents are in the process of trying to enter or exit
their premises. Dealing with obstruction of dropped kerbs.
Other footway obstruction without yellow line or other restrictions is a police function.*
|Pedestrian access routes||PRIORITY MEDIUM||Mainly patrols of single and double yellow line restrictions where numbers of pedestrians|
are walking, such as shopping areas and pedestrian prioritised streets.
|Taxi Ranks||PRIORITY MEDIUM||Mainly patrols of single and double yellow line restrictions at Taxi Ranks to prevent|
|Grass verges||PRIORITY LOW||Mainly patrols of single and double yellow line restrictions where drivers are using the grass|
verge and causing damage. This does not apply where there are no yellow lines.
|Special entertainment events||PRIORITY LOW||This is primarily where large organised events such as shows or firework displays cause|
short term visitors to park vehicles in side/residential streets contravention of waiting
restrictions, where covered under temporary restrictions and No Waiting Cones are placed.
This excludes Police No Waiting temporary cones which may also be placed at events; where
there is no temporary restriction, the enforcement of which remains a police function.*
For main traffic routes see AID TO MOVEMENT
Other operational requirements that follow will be balanced and prioritised on an as required basis depending upon resources available
Deliveries & Servicing
Control and enable the conveyance of goods at:
|Servicing yards||PRIORITY MEDIUM||Patrols of single and double yellow line restrictions to enable effective use and access to service yards.|
|Permitted loading areas||PRIORITY MEDIUM||Patrols of single and double yellow line restrictions to enable effective use and access to loading bays.|
Control effective use of permitted parking areas in:
|City/District Council Car parks||PRIORITY MEDIUM||Issue PCN for infringement of car park Orders.|
|On-street Pay & Display||PRIORITY MEDIUM||Issue PCN for infringement of on street parking Orders.|
|Blue Badge Holder Bays||PRIORITY MEDIUM||Issue a PCN for infringement of on street Blue Badge Holder only parking places where|
there is time a restriction and where vehicle is not displaying a Blue Badge.
|Residents Parking||PRIORITY MEDIUM||Issue a PCN for infringement of on street residents parking places where a vehicle is not|
displaying a current residents parking or visitor badge for the appropriate Zone.
|Limited waiting||PRIORITY LOW||Issue a PCN for infringement of on street parking Orders where there is no fee but parking is time restricted.|