Council set to write off 13,000 parking fines in Leeds

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Thousands of parking tickets that have proved ‘irrecoverable’ could be written off by Leeds City Council to help save £91,567 in legal costs.

More than 13,000 ‘bad debts’ from tickets issued between 2005 and 2010 could be written off as they are deemed unlikely to be paid off because the vehicles or owners can’t be traced.

According to a report, further action to chase up payments would cost £7 per ticket in legal fees – whether or not the money was recovered. A spokeswoman for Leeds City Council said: “This report relates to old tickets where we have done all we can to recover the debt but for various reasons, which include non-traceable vehicles and owners, have been unsuccessful.

“They are therefore deemed irrecoverable as it is no longer an effective use of taxpayers’ money to continue to chase the debt as the cost of recovering the debt would be more than the debt itself.

“These cases are in the minority as the collection rate for parking fines in Leeds remains at a good level.”

Around 150,000 penalty charge notices for parking and bus lane infringements are handed out to drivers in Leeds every year.

As previously reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, Leeds City Council has already written off more than 50,000 parking tickets over the past seven years.

The tickets could have netted up to £3.75m, based on fixed penalty charges for parking offences of £70 and £50, depending on the severity of the breach.

Parking manager Mark Jefford wrote in the latest report: “These debts are unrecoverable, either because the bailiff has been unable to gain payment or because the owner of the vehicle cannot be traced.

“This includes foreign registered vehicles.

“Following exhaustive debt recovery action, the outstanding amounts are deemed irrecoverable and consequently the debts proposed to be written off.”