A body representing small and independent retailers in Northern Ireland has described the 110,000 parking and bus lane fines issued over a nine-month period as “staggering”.
New figures from the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) show that Belfast had the largest number of offenders with more than 28,000 on-street parking penalty notices issued to motorists.
A further 15,356 were handed out in Belfast for “moving traffic offences” – including 5,307 for bus lane violations in Donegall Square East alone.
Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts said the “excessive” enforcement strategy was “having a clear and negative impact” on its members as well as shoppers.
A total of 67,795 ‘on street’ penalties were issued across all of Northern Ireland’s town and city centres between January and September this year, with a further 27,358 issued for off-street violations.
Mr Roberts said: ”These statistics are simply staggering. Retail NI has consistently hit out at the this over-zealous fining policy and the negative message it sends out to shoppers who use their cars.
“The only winners from this are the large out of town supermarkets, who have free car parking and no traffic attendants.”
He added:“We want to see sensible and fair enforcement of car parking and bus lanes and an end to this current excessive strategy. We will be pressing the DfI to urgently review their car parking and bus lane enforcement policy”
Twelve per cent of all off-street car parking fines (9,872) were issued in the Fermanagh and Omagh district council area.
A number of towns and villages had no on-street parking tickets issued, including Richhill, Newtownstewart and Castlewellan – while Tandragee, Toome and Kesh had only one issued in each over the nine-month period.
The DfI said the enforcement action helped with the turnover of spaces allowing more visitors and shoppers to find a parking place.