Not a single parking ticket was issued to drivers in Dungiven last year, despite a claim from a local councillor who says red coats are in the town on a “regular” basis.
A breakdown of parking tickets issued in towns across East Derry was provided to the Assembly following a question by DUP member Gregory Campbell.
The figures reveal just eight drivers received fines in Dungiven in 2014, and none last year.
Sinn Fein councillor Sean McGlinchey said: “Traffic wardens do be up in Dungiven on a regular basis. You would see two wardens on the Main Street every couple of weeks but, to be honest, I don’t think there is a problem with parking in Dungiven. Most people park responsibly. In a time when there are cutbacks, they would be better spending the money on fixing potholes. Businesses need to take more care when they know deliveries are due. I know some that some put out cones in front of their shops for lorries to park and that way they prevent traffic tailbacks.”
However, local resident Michael Coyle believes there does need to be better enforecment of people parking on footpaths and the mis-use of disabled bays.
“You see it there at the junction of New Street and Main Street and on Chapel Road where people are parked up on the footpath,” said Mr Coyle.
“I know that causes problems and for people with a pram how are they supposed to walk around that? They have to go on the main road and surely that’s dangerous?”
Mr Coyle added: “Some drivers are forcing pedestrians onto the road.”
In Limavady, in contrast to Dungiven, 1,055 drivers were hit with fines in 2014, increasing to 1,233 in 2015.
SDLP Colr. Gerry Mullan said he was “suprised” the number of fines issued had increased in 2015. However, he said that could be because those being fined are people who are not from the town and who have been caught out.
“Local are probably well enough educated by now about the need for sensible and responsible parking and perhaps it’s time to relax the stringency of the operations carrie d out by traffic wardens. There are many occasions I know of when peopole have simply over parked for a brief period and they’ve been hit with a fine they can do without.”
In Coleraine 4,090 motorists received parking tickets in 2015.
Almost 400 penalties imposed in Portstewart and 529 in Portrush in 2015.
In her response, Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen said the number of penalty notices issued “depends on many factors, including the size of the town, the extent of parking restrictions and the volume of traffic”.
Ms McIlveen said: “These factors, plus the level of illegal parking, will influence where and how often traffic attendants are deployed.
“Traffic attendants will issue a penalty charge notice to any vehicle parked in contravention of a parking restriction, however they must always afford drivers in or at their vehicle the opportunity to drive away before attempting enforcement.”
The minister added: “These factors, in combination with the varying levels of parking restrictions that require enforcing, are the primary reasons for the varying numbers of penalty charge notices issued.”