Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Anarchy in Ceredigion

That's what there may well be if Dyfed-Powys Police withdraw their traffic wardens from patrol in the coming months as they've said they will do.

That was the message coming out from this morning's Ceredigion County Council Cabinet meeting from a number of Councillors from across the chamber - including myself.

De-Criminalisation of Parking
This issue arose in the discussion on the merits or otherwise of Ceredigion County Council taking over the responsibility of parking enforcement from the police by de-criminalising parking and making it a civil matter.

This Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) has some potentially great benefits. One is that it will increase the number of enforcement officers from the current 3 Traffic Wardens that cover the entirety of Ceredigion to 8 and the money from parking fines that will be collected would go back to the Council and can be re-used for local highways priorities whereas the current fines from parking tickets simply go straight to central government.

Neighbouring authorities in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire already operate this CPE model and Powys will be going ‘live’ with it on April 1st. Ceredigion’s decision today to support the principle of adopting this system will make us the 12th out of 22 authorities in Wales to work under this civil scheme.

Anarchy in Ceredigion?
The concerns raised today were in relation to the intervening period between Dyfed-Powys Police’s withdrawal of their enforcement at the end of May and the commencement of the Council’s enforcement which will not come into being for at least 12 months (what with the need to consult and receive the consent of the Welsh Assembly Government).

We were told that the Chief Constable does have powers to ensure that there is coverage in such an interregnum and I requested in the meeting today that the Council continues its dialogue with him to ensure that there is enforcement coverage in the period up to when the County Council officially takes control.

Otherwise, as stated with concern by myself and colleagues from across the chamber, there may well be anarchy in Ceredigion where there will be no enforcement of parking at all. Imagine that? A scenario in Aberystwyth or in Cardigan where we have plenty of parking problems as it is, or in Lampeter where people will park where they like and for however long a length of time they like in the knowledge that no-one will enforce the traffic regulations against them.

This can not be allowed to happen and a partnership approach must be ensured between the Council and the police to guarantee that this 12 or so month void is filled.

But thankfully, the vote today by Cabinet, after what I am told by my Plaid Cymru colleague Alun Williams (who represents Aberystwyth’s Bronglais Ward) has been at least a 13 year wait, agreed in principle that we finally go down this path.

The Labour member for Lampeter Hag Harris, who sits on the Cabinet did joke at the end of the discussion that it was rather far fetched for a number of us to speak of anarchy – the Sex Pistols he said, it wasn’t! But I reminded him afterwards that the definition of anarchy is disorder or lawlessness and that is what would prevail if the unpalatable situation mentioned above were to come into effect in the months ahead.

Here’s hoping that common sense will prevail and that it won’t. But in the meantime I welcome today’s decision and look forward to the hoped for implementation of the CPE during the course of 2012.


  1. I'm not so sure, do we really need all this regulation and enforcement? There is a fine line between talking of anarchy, and freedom and deregulation. Supposing we liberalised the system by removing the plethora of single lines, double lines, time zones, time limited parking etc, and left people to park as they wished, subject to being towed away if they caused an obstruction? Would that be so bad, or even so different, from what happens anyway?

  2. Alec - don't let Alun Williams hear you talk like this!