New measures are being put in place to deter drivers of foreign-registered vehicles from parking illegally in Northamptonshire.
Northamptonshire County Council provides a parking enforcement service covering the borough and district areas of Corby, Northampton, Daventry, Wellingborough, South Northamptonshire and East Northamptonshire.
The county council can issue penalty charge notices for contraventions such as parking on yellow lines or parking illegally in residents’ parking zones.
While the number of tickets issued against foreign vehicles is relatively small it has previously been difficult to recover any penalty charges issued.
The county council obtains vehicle owner details from DVLA records for vehicles registered in this country and uses this information to pursue unpaid tickets, but does not have access to data held by other vehicle registration organisations across Europe.
Cllr Ian Morris, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said: “The majority of motorists park correctly. But a vehicle parked incorrectly can not only be dangerous but cause delays, queuing and inconvenience for other road users.
“Parking needs to be managed to make sure Northamptonshire keeps on the move.
“Effective parking restrictions in town centres also keep a high turnover of vehicles, bringing more cars into the town and boosting trade.
“We receive many complaints each year regarding the illegal parking of foreign-registered vehicles but until now it has been very difficult to recover the debt from unpaid penalty charge notices.
“This will allow us to recover all or some of those tickets where we previously experienced difficulties.”
In the financial year 2015/2016, 935 tickets were issued against foreign vehicles, while 646 of these had to be written off as there was no way of recovering the penalty charge.
As a result, the county council has appointed Euro Parking Collection plc (EPC) to pursue the recovery of unpaid tickets against foreign registered vehicles.
EPC works on behalf of more than 450 issuing organisations in 15 European countries.
These organisations are primarily made up of public and police authorities, councils, municipalities, national government agencies, road toll operators and private parking companies.
EPC specialises in the identification, notification and collection of unpaid traffic and public transport related fees, charges and penalties issued to foreign registered vehicles or persons across Europe.
The company will recover the penalty charge income on behalf of the county council and will operate on a no-win no-fee basis.