Derry & Strabane Council has agreed to write off over £170,000 in parking fines across the city and district.
The council’s Business & Culture Committee took the decision over the bad debt after a report compiled by council officers was brought before them in Strabane on Tuesday.
The authority currently operates 15 paid car parks throughout the city and in Strabane town centre, having taken on responsibility for them under the Review of Public Administration.
However the transfer process also resulted in the outstanding charges also transferring to the council. As such, the committee was told, it can be written off at no cost to Council.
The council’s Head of Business Kevin O’Connor said they were recommending the write-off of charges incurred through Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) as the Department for Infrastructure now considers that these fines will not be collected.
The cases totalled £174,813 with a further £1,890 from foreign vehicles.
The bad debt included instances where the keeper information was not supplied and where the vehicle is a foreign registered vehicle. In other instances the debt related to clamping or to referral to the Enforcement of Judgements Office (EJO).
DUP Alderman David Ramsey said: “We’re glad it is not costing us anything so I have no problem proposing it.”
Seconding the move, Sinn Fein councillor Caoimhe McKnight said: “Unfortunately we haven’t been able to recover this bad debt but obviously you have looked at all avenues of recovering it.”
However UUP Alderman Derek Hussey warned about sending out the “wrong message” that the council would not bother about fines in future.