Posted: Mon 20th Mar 2023

High-Tech solutions could be used to tackle school parking issues in Flintshire

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Mar 20th, 2023

ANPR and CCTV technology is being explored as an option for clamping down on problem parking outside Flintshire schools.

The issue is being put under the microscope this week as the council’s environment and education scrutiny committees look at a joint-report.

A report, written by the chief officer for Streetscene, acknowledges inconsiderate, irresponsible and dangerous parking outside of the county’s schools is a big problem – but warns there are no easy fixes.

It states: “Parking within the vicinity of schools is a longstanding problem and many schools are located within densely populated and built-up residential areas on narrow roads, where much of the infrastructure and buildings were constructed at a time when vehicle usage was significantly lower than the present day.

“Inappropriate, inconsiderate and sometimes, dangerous parking is an increasing issue around schools and puts the safety of children and other road users at risk.

“There is no one single solution to fix the issue and it will require a range of measures applied regularly throughout the school year and commitment from the school and wider school community.”

The report adds that responsibility also falls on motorists who should be adhering to the Highway Code: “Many residents who reside within the vicinity of schools complain that they are plagued with poor driver behaviour, which can have an impact on their property and even impact on personal mental health and wellbeing.

“Flintshire Council receives a high volume of complaints about parking and traffic congestion outside schools along with requests to resolve the issues or carry out road safety reviews or introduce parking restrictions.

“However, local authorities do not have the powers or the resources to deal with all perceived parking and traffic problems outside schools.

“Although any dangerous or inconsiderate parking that is causing an obstruction is a matter for the police to enforce, the police also have limited resources available to carry out enforcement for such localised traffic matters.

The council currently has 10 enforcement officers, who also cover other infractions such as dog fouling and fly-tipping.
Of the 78 schools across the county, 25 currently have traffic restrictions patrolled, ranging from just ‘School Keep Clear’ markings to other measures.

Enforcement officers attend schools that are the most problematic on a frequent basis. They are on duty from 8:30am to 9.15am and 2.30pm to 3.15pm.

According to the report, the concerns received about the schools tend to be about the afternoon pick-up when people arrive early looking for spaces to park to collect a pupil.

When officers are there, the majority of parents abide by the restrictions and park appropriately meaning they do not have the opportunity to issue a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).

The report adds that technology could be a solution outside some schools.

“Quite often members of the public know the regulations and limitations of enforcement in that they know that they are allowed time to let passengers alight from the vehicle even when parked on a traffic restriction, again meaning the officer cannot issue a PCN”, it adds.

“Unfortunately, the council does not have sufficient resources to be able to effectively monitor the full extent of the traffic restrictions currently in place at every school every day.

“Remote enforcement opportunities, such as ANPR/CCTV are currently being explored; however, the availability of technology is not yet sufficient to enable widespread use.

“Such technology could only be used for enforcing clearways such as ‘School Keep Clear’ markings and not for people who might be able to park legitimately with a blue badge in the windscreen.

“There is no single solution to fix the problems of parking and congestion within the vicinity of schools and commitment from all parties including individual schools and the wider school community will be required.

“It does however need to be acknowledged that enforcement is a purely reactive measure and should only be considered as the last resort when all other avenues have been exhausted.”

The education scrutiny committee meets this Thursday (March 23) to discuss the problem.

By Rory Sheehan – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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