Parking and poster vans provoke Coalition differences

There are some open differences of opinion going on in the Coalition Government at the moment. Eric Pickles was taken to task by our Norman Baker over his idea to allow people to park on double yellow lines.

The Guardian says:

Asked about the plan, Baker said on Monday that “both sides of the coalition” wanted high streets to prosper and that he agreed that over-zealous action by traffic wardens could be a problem.

But he also expressed reservations about Pickles’s idea. “The idea of actually having cars parked for a very long period of time on a double yellow line actually undermines the purposes of the yellow line and I’m advised it’s unworkable,” he said. “They are there for a reason, often for a safety reason.

Vince Cable, however, was a bit more positive:

Business Secretary Vince Cable told Channel 5 News he had “a lot of sympathy with what Eric Pickles is trying to do.

“I think a lot of small businesses are driven to distraction by over-zealous enforcement of parking rules, so I think a little bit of common sense and flexibility is very much to be welcomed.”

And the Poster Van row rumbles on. The Tory bit of the Coalition is trying to assert itself in the face of Liberal Democrat criticism of the pilot. The BBC reports that a Downing Street spokesman says that the posters were working:

The PM’s official spokesman said David Cameron disagreed with Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable’s view that the scheme was “stupid and offensive”.

The spokesman said the Home Office was “clear that this is already working”.

He did not give figures on levels of response but said the Home Office was “looking at what they can take forward” from the London pilot scheme.

Sarah Teather, who has been critical of the scheme from the start, is not so sure:

I am extremely sceptical that these adverts are having any effect other than to annoy and upset local residents. The reaction over the last week would certainly suggest that Conservative Ministers are among a very small minority who think the vans are a good idea.

I await the detailed statistics and analysis of the trials which backs up No 10’s claim with bated breath. But I dare say that this is a desperate attempt to try and save face in the face of overwhelming public hostility.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Enforcing a 15-minute limit might involve a traffic warden hanging around watching his/her watch. Their employers would love that.

    The vans might work (though I doubt it strongly). The point is that this is a very visible action which can only claim to be a government policy if it is signed off by LibDem ministers. Differentiation through policy development and occasional conflicting opinions can be OK. Controversial, self-proclaiminig programmes must be agreed, no matter how little they may cost.

  • Graham Martin-Royle 30th Jul '13 - 2:24am

    Rather than concentrating on allowing vehicles to park for 15 minutes on a double yellow, how about concentrating on getting them off of pavements and back onto the roads where they belong.

  • jenny barnes 30th Jul '13 - 8:52am

    As these vans are NOT government action – who is paying for them? Conservative Party?

  • I can think of plenty of places that have yellow lines not for safety reasons, but for “pedestrianization” reasons, or to force people to use the council run car parks.

    Remove unnecessary yellow lines, don’t make them redundant.

  • Peter Watson 30th Jul '13 - 10:42am

    @jenny barnes “As these vans are NOT government action – who is paying for them? Conservative Party?”
    Very good point. If senior Lib Dems are prepared to put their heads above the parapets to criticise these policies then one can only assume that they must agree with all of the other policies they have supported in government when they did not dissent publicly. Or perhaps relatively minor issues like these are being cynically and artificially used to differentiate the coalition partners.

  • David Rogers 30th Jul '13 - 10:54am

    Thoroughly agree with Graham M-R above; also many of the comments on this issue (especially elsewhere) seem to relate to urban areas where there may be many “traffic wardens” or other people responsible for enforcement of parking regulations. Almost every area of the country, including very rural areas, has double yellow lines in places – including to prevent near or total blocking of the carriageway where it is only one vehicle wide or slightly more! But in these areas, parking enforcement officers may be many miles away for most of the time…

  • Peter Hayes 30th Jul '13 - 1:37pm

    Sensible parking charges would help. In Cheltenham you can nearly always find a paid for on street space. But that’s because the Conservative County Council put up the charges. In another road they changed the free parking to add more disabled bays which is good but also added loading bays. Why not encourage out of hours loading?

  • Andrew Colman 30th Jul '13 - 1:59pm

    I Apologise for sounding simplistic, but isn’ t the answer just to get rid of double yellow lines when not needed.
    If they want people to be able to stop for 15 mins, why not replace with a dashed yellow line with a sign saying, waiting limited to 15 mins. Would save on paint too!

  • These posters vans are just stating what most Daily Mail readers think. You Nazis are alright!

  • Defenestrate Clegg 30th Jul '13 - 4:09pm

    So what does the Lib Dem party in government have to say about reports today that non-white people are being targeted at London railway stations by Border Agency Staff ?

    Blame it all on Labour as usual ?

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