Media Frenzy

“To enrich people’s lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain.” (BBC mission statement originated by John Reith)

Apologies for the lack of posts to this blog over the last couple of months but my attention has been focussed elsewhere. The number of people seeking help rises by the week, and I am sorry if you have left a message and I have not responded. This issue is being addressed.

My colleagues and I have been occupied with making sure the Media are “on message” over the last few months. Their interest was awakened by the changeover in parking legislation from the Road Traffic Act 1991 to the Traffic Management Act 2004.

Back in January we had the BBC documentary “Road Rage” followed by the ITV offering “Parking Wars” in March.

More recently I was contacted by BBC Radio 4’s iPM team who wanted to do a piece on CCTV enforcement. I was able to take one of their reporters along to a meeting of the London Motorists’ Action Group to meet with (among others) Lord Lucas and Neil Herron. This went out on May 17th.

I’m guessing that this must have sown the germ of an idea within the BBC News department, because shortly afterwards I was contacted by a researcher from the ‘Breakfast’ show who said that they wanted to do a piece on unlawful enforcement by Local Councils. I supplied her with lots of material, and I ended up dealing with queries at hourly intervals for most of yesterday.

The result was staggering. The message came across loud and clear in this morning’s programme: If councils want motorists to obey the law, they should themselves abide by the law. The story is summarised in this article Council motoring fines ‘illegal’ here on the BBC News website. As far as I know it was also picked up by Radio 4 and Radio 5 Live. When I switched on the radio in my car this evening it was the topic for the ‘Drivetime with Eddie and Kath’ phone-in programme on BBC Radio London.

That wasn’t the end of the story. Ealing Council (who else) rang up the Beeb to find out where they had got their figures from for the South Road & St Joseph’s Drive box junction. (An FOI request of course.)They also did not seem to know that there had been two rulings against this junction at PATAS (doh!). And how could the BBC possibly know that this junction had not received authorisation from the DfT? (Cos we talk to the DfT about these matters, which is more than Ealing does.)

So I was fielding more phone calls from the researcher.

But the best bit of news was that this item generated a TON of e-mail from viewers. It obviously touched a nerve with motorists and gave councils a real fright.

I leave you with this thought. The chances are that most PCNs are issued unlawfully. Do not assume that the PCN is correct – question it. You have been given a right of appeal – use it.

If everyone appealed, the system would grind to a halt. Wouldn’t that be nice…

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4 Responses to Media Frenzy

  1. Alex says:

    I’m investigating the box junction in South Road/St Joseph’s Drive for the Ealing Times and would really like to speak to you about it. Could you email me a contact number please?

  2. MR Jassal says:

    Hi Alex i have also had a penalty charge from Ealing council with the box junction of South Rd and Cambridge Road .My understanding is that this is a T Juction coming out of Cambridge Road so if there was going to be a box it should be half a box.I have been in contact with Ealing council about this case because my wife paid it when i was in Hospital not knowing when i was going to come out.i came out 8 days after getting this notice,the offence took place 13/04/08 and the notice was sent to me on the 23/04/08.I cannot understand why they had taken all this time to process this as they have there Vans parked there all the time.They seem to change the colour of the vans from white to blue.

  3. afriendlyface says:

    “If everyone appealed, the system would grind to a halt. Wouldn’t that be nice…”

    “The system” being the British road network.

    There are incorrectly issued PCNs, but the majority are correctly issued. Out on the streets, I see so many examples of stupid, thoughtless and dangerous parking that the concept of enforcement ceasing fills me with dread. I’ve seen streets blocked with people stopping in the middle of the road, blocking off busy bus routes, to chat. I’ve seen people sat across junctions seemingly genuinely confused about why I want them to move. I’ve seen vehicles parked blocking the view of pedestrian crossings, endangering pedestrian lives. I see a lot of people parked just around blind bends, endagering their own vehicles.

    The vast majority of PCN issued are issued because the person that paked the vehicle is too lazy to walk an extra 10 feet, too stupid to read the sign, or too arrogant to realise that they may be caught.

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