After a reading a complaint about traffic wardens on the website yesterday, I see that the same unpopular species of local government contractor are to be told by the government to stop victimising motorists.
Attendants will have to curb the petty habit of ticketing motorists who have overstayed by a minute, or whose wheels stray just an inch over the line.
Ministers facing local elections next month have finally awoken to the fact that many motorists are infuriated by the behaviour of wardens who are under pressure to extract maximum revenue from drivers.
A transport department memo sent to members of the Commons transport select committee accuses local authorities of employing wardens without proper training and allowing staff to reject valid appeals against fines. It also calls for an end to “confusing” and “incomprehensible” parking restriction signs.
The committee is investigating parking enforcement across England amid a backlash against the behaviour of some wardens as recent figures show fines in 2003-04 surging past £1 billion for the first time.
My most recent experience of the warden scourge was three years ago in Westminster, when on two consecutive days, traffic wardens ticketed my motorcycle on private property. Only the presence of my digital camera on appeal, saved me from almost £200 worth of fines issued by men who spoke little or no English, could have been Rwandan war criminals or Albanian brigands for all I know but had all the power of the establishment because they happened to be wearing a uniform.