Car drivers who overstay their time in parking bays will get a ten minute grace period before they are given a ticket, under new rules.
The change comes amid a raft of measures by the Government to encourage people to use their car in town centres.
In a separate move likely to make life more difficult for pedestrians and bus passengers, councils will no longer be able to enforce bus lanes or zebra crossings using cameras.
The Government says its deregulation will help businesses, but campaigners are warning that more motor traffic in town centres could make them unpleasant and even put lives at risk.
The ten minute grace period will only apply to council-run car parks and not privately operated ones.
The Local Government Association, which represents councils, said many local authorities already allowed a grace period and warned that encouraging traffic into town centres would make them more unpleasant for pedestrians.
“We are concerned that government has rushed through today’s announcement and failed to fully consult councils on the detail of the regulation,” Cllr David Sparks, the Association’s chair, said.
“Beyond the headlines, what is particularly worrying is the detail of these proposals which could make roads less safe for vulnerable pedestrians and inconvenience millions of motorists and commuters.”
Eco-friendly cities: in pictures
Eco-friendly cities: in pictures
1/10 1. Copenhagen, Denmark
55% of residents in the Danish capital cycle to work or school, and over 30% of public transport uses renewable fuel. The city is also aiming to be carbon-neutral by 2025.
2/10 2. Stockholm, Sweden
All trains in the Swedish capital run on renewable fuels, and buses run on a hybrid of ethanol and electricity. The city also has seven nature reserves which improve air quality.
3/10 3. Hamburg, Germany
The German city, which was the European Green Capital in 2011, uses 200,000 low-energy lamps across 400 public buildings. 3,000 hectares of state-owned parkland are also available for the million people who use them every week.
4/10 4. Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
There are over 130,000 trees and 90km of bicycle lanes in this northern city of Spain. Citizens also have access to 210 organic farming plots, and there is a public green space within 300 metres of every house.
5/10 5. Nantes, France
As the first city in France to re-introduce electric tramways, Nantes has set itself targets to reduce air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions. 15% of daily travels are undertaken on public transport, and only 11% of rubbish goes to landfill.
6/10 6. Bristol, UK
The birthplace of Banksy and this year’s European Green Capital, Bristol employs around 9000 people in its low carbon economy initiative. Additionally, 34% of the city is made up of green and blue open spaces and homes have become 25% more efficient over the last decade.
7/10 7. Ljubljana, Slovenia
The Slovenian capital has a pedestrian-only city-centre and 94% of residents take part in the organic waste collection system. With over 190km of cycle paths and almost all residents living less than 300m from public transport, the city has promoted environmentally-friendly ways of travelling.
8/10 8. Oslo, Norway
The Norweigan capital has the world’s most electric cars per capita, reducing emissions by 50% since 1991. With the aim to make public transport fossil fuel-free by 2020, the city’s authority is making sure residents are as eco-friendly as possible.
9/10 9. Brussels, Belgium
Best known for its beer and chocolate, the city which is home to the European Parliament, reduced CO2 emissions by 13,000 tonnes between 2007 and 2009. By 2018, it hopes to have reduced car traffic by 20% from its 2001 level.
10/10 10. Nijmegen, Netherlands
Located on the River Waal, this lesser-known Dutch city fuels its buses with biogas and citizen participation is encouraged through multiple green initiatives. Around 14,000 homes are heated using a network of waste heat, and the city aims to be energy neutral by 2040.
The group said it had “serious concerns” about the plan to ban the use of CCTV to enforce zebra crossings and bus lanes.
“This decision could endanger vulnerable road users such as children, blind or disabled people and create delays for millions of bus users,” Cllr Sparks said.
But Communities Secretary Eric Pickles argued motorists should be able to “go about their daily business” without having rules aggressively enforced against them.
He said drivers who broke the rules were sometimes made to feel like they had done something wrong.
“We are ending the war on drivers who simply want to go about their daily business. For too long parking rules have made law-abiding motorists feel like criminals, and caused enormous damage to shops and businesses,” he said in a statement.
“Over-zealous parking enforcement undermines our town centres and costs councils more in the long-term. Our measures not only bring big benefits for high streets, motorists and local authorities - they put common sense back into parking.”
But the charity Sustrans, which works to help people travel by foot, bike, and public transport said a parking "free for all" would not help businesses and could be counterproductive.
“The myth of unfair parking charges and over-zealous enforcement ignores the real problems facing the high street. Cars don’t spend money, people do," said Allan Williams, policy advisor to the charity.
“The evidence is clear that retailers overestimate the proportion of customers that travel by car, and that pedestrians, cyclists and bus users spend more on the high street than those in cars. The key to saving our high streets is to make them safer and more pleasant and accessible places for everyone, not a parking free for all.”Reuse content