Overseas drivers owe council £4m
Published 14/08/2010 | 11:42
A city council is owed almost £4 million in unpaid parking fines by drivers of foreign-owned vehicles, it has been revealed.
Westminster Council said it is powerless to recoup the money as UK authorities cannot trace the drivers overseas.
The council said the problem is particularly bad in central London where super-cars can regularly be seen parking on yellow lines, in bus lanes or in residents' parking bays.
The council said drivers of foreign-owned cars and motorbikes owed it almost £4 million in unpaid fines over the last three years, with more than 80% of overseas drivers refusing to pay for tickets.
The council took the unusual step of revealing "high profile" offenders, such as the owner of a £300,000 Rolls Royce Phantom with the number plate 3HVB, which has racked up 18 tickets and more than £2,000 in fines.
Another high profile offender is the owner of a £1.2 million Bugatti Veyron L'Edition Centenaire - one of the fastest and most expensive production super-cars in the world with a top speed of 250mph - with the number plate 444.
The owner has an outstanding ticket for parking outside a main entrance to Selfridges department store in the heart of the West End dating back to March.
The owner of a £50,000 Hummer with the number plate U19HPS, whose car is registered in America, owed £4,000 after being issued more than 35 tickets. The tickets were written off but the vehicle has since clocked up 10 more tickets and owes £1,100.
Westminster Council is now calling for a change in legislation that would allow local authorities access of overseas driver and vehicle registration data and enable them to enforce parking fines.
Cabinet member for parking, Cllr Lee Rowley, said: "British taxpayers can no longer foot the bill for foreign motorists who seem to think the rules of this country do not apply to them. We would like to see a more rigorous system put in place to hold these drivers to account and send a clear message that this blatant disregard of the law will not be tolerated."