Motorists in north Antrim who park illegally will be handed stiffer fines following an increase in penalties.
Following the Prayer of Annulment debate, at the Assembly, MLAs voted in favour of an increase in the penalty charge notice, (PCN) from £60 to £90, reduced to £45 if paid within two weeks.
The new penalty will come into force on Wednesday 4 July.
Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy said: “The vast majority of drivers park legally and safely and they need never pay this penalty.
”However the increase from £60 to £90 will act as a greater deterrent to those who choose not to park properly. It is the Department’s aim to reduce the number of illegally parked vehicles on our roads, not to issue PCNs.”
The Minister added: “It is my responsibility to cover the cost of delivering car parking services and I want to ensure the burden of enforcement falls on those drivers who ignore the restrictions and cause safety risks, delays and inconvenience for other drivers and pedestrians.
“The increase in PCNs will go towards the self-funding of car parking services which currently run at a deficit of £7 million per year. Reducing this deficit will free up other parts of my budget for maintaining front-line services such as fixing potholes and maintaining street lights.”
He continued: “I plan to implement a range of efficiencies in the new contract for parking enforcement in October, which will see a 20% reduction in the cost of this service. Electronic payment will also be rolled out across Northern Ireland.
“This service means drivers don’t have to predict how long they need to park and pay upfront – they can start and stop their parking when they need to and only pay for the time used.
“To help maintain front-line services there will be annual increases on car parking charges. These are necessary to effectively manage my Department’s budget and deliver efficient streamlined services.”