It's a sunny day in August and an ambulance is on its way to a house.
It weaves its way swiftly along, blue lights flashing, until it reaches a long queue. The traffic tries to move out of its way – with difficulty, because a line of cars are parked haphazardly along the verge, their bumpers jutting into the road.
With effort, the ambulance gets through, passing the cause of the disruption. A delivery lorry has been left on double yellow lines, halting the flow and angering motorists for miles around.
Turning into a quiet neighbourhood, the ambulance's journey only gets harder as it squeezes past cars left on junctions and in restricted areas. In the end the paramedics have to go the rest of the way on foot – 30 minutes later than planned. They wouldn't have been able to get on the driveway anyway, because someone had parked right across the dropped kerb access, causing an obstruction.
That's the reality of a world without parking management.
We're the North Essex Parking Partnership, or NEPP for short. Led by Colchester Borough Council and including Epping Forest, Harlow, Uttlesford, Braintree and Tendring, NEPP manage parking enforcement in all six areas.
We introduce new parking restrictions, enforce the ones that already exist, represent the local area in parking decisions and much more.
Our Civil Enforcement Officers look for cars parked where they're causing danger or inconvenience to others. For example:
- on double or single yellow lines
- in resident permit zones when they don't have a permit
- in parking bays for longer than permitted
- and in other places where there are restrictions.
From time to time, they also deal with very different matters. A couple of months ago, an officer was on their way in the direction of Newport when they witnessed a serious road accident. The officer stayed with the driver for over an hour, awaiting an air ambulance. Incidents like this are rare, but as we're out on the ground we help wherever we can.
Nobody likes getting a parking ticket, but the truth is that we don't really like giving them either! If you think a Penalty Charge Notice is wrong, you can appeal and we'll always consider it fairly. If you see us out and about and you aren't sure where to park, please do feel free to ask. Our officers are all trained to give directions and advice, and we would always prefer to help than to give a penalty charge notice.
For this reason, we work to inform people about considerate parking. We regularly post motorist tips and advice on our Twitter account, @nepp_parking, and give presentations to parish councils and other organisations.
To find out more about parking restrictions and the NEPP, to appeal a parking ticket or request restrictions, visit www.parkingpartnership.org.uk/north