EDUCATION and raising awareness is key to solving parking problems in Torfaen, according to the council's parking enforcement officers.

Torfaen's parking enforcement officers have issued 613 tickets since taking control of parking enforcement on July 1.

This is comparatively low compared to the other Gwent authorities - Newport City Council issued more than 1,500 tickets in the first two weeks after taking over control.

Elsewhere in Gwent, nearly 1,000 were issued during the same period in Blaenau Gwent, more than 700 were issued in Caerphilly county borough, but none were issued in Monmouthshire in the first two weeks after taking over parking enforcement.

One of Torfaen's parking enforcement officers, Roger, said they aimed to be as flexible as possible.

"Most members of the public are supportive of us," he said. "I have had some abuse when I've given people tickets, but it is by far outweighed by the support we received.

"We try to be as flexible as possible.


"If they are in the vehicle, I will always go and speak to them, explain to them why they can't park there, and ask them to move along.

"It's only if they are parked dangerously we will give them a ticket straight away."

Tickets can be issued for parking on double yellow lines, school crossings, loading restricted areas, bus stops or taxi ranks, as well as when blocking dropped kerbs or pedestrian crossings. Tickets can also be issued for parking in a disabled parking space without a Blue badge, or with an invalid one.

"A lot of people think we have quotas we have to fill, but that's just not the case," said Roger.

"With some councils, it is about issuing fines and making money. In Torfaen, it's more about education, and teaching people to park safer."

While patrolling outside New Inn Primary School on Wednesday afternoon, the officers came across a car parked blocking a dropped kerb and too far away from the kerb.

South Wales Argus:

(A car 'parked' outside New Inn Primary School about to be ticketed.)

"It could be done for a number of offences," explained Roger. "It's parked too far away from the kerb and it's parked in front of a dropped kerb, so if a wheelchair user wanted to cross the road, they wouldn't be able to.

"It's quite ridiculous really.

"A lot of the tickets we have issued are just down to laziness - people not wanting to walk even an extra couple of metres."

Councillor Fiona Cross, executive member for the environment said: “The team want to make sure people understand the law, and why fines are being issued to them.

“Sometimes in our busy lives we may not think about the consequences of our actions. We may think that parking on double yellow lines for 10 minutes won’t cause a problem, but it could mean that an ambulance can’t get down a road during an emergency.

“Parking in a taxi only area may not seem like an offence if there are spaces available. However, when you find out that taxi owners pay a fee to park in these areas you can see why emotions can get heightened and arguments break out."