Tow-away threat for vehicles

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MOTORISTS who break parking rules in Sheffield risk having their car towed away.

For the first time, the council is planning to use tow-away powers – to keep traffic moving on key main roads and for persistent offenders who do not pay parking tickets.

Another aim is to ensure roads are clear for repair as part of the city’s 25-year highways maintenance programme, due to start next spring.

The council already has the powers to remove vehicles causing congestion on important routes but has never used them because of the few times they would be required and the cost of setting up a system with a private contractor.

The impending start of the highways private finance initiative has prompted a rethink, with the authority being responsible for ensuring roads are clear and ready for repair under the terms of the contract.

“Every opportunity” will be taken to warn drivers that a road is about to be resurfaced, including letters to households and signs on the highway, says a report to councillors.

But if the vehicle is still there, a £70 ticket – £35 if paid within 14 days – will be issued. If it is still not removed, there is the risk of it being towed to a pound where £105 will have to be paid for it to be reclaimed. If the vehicle is not reclaimed with 24 hours, storage fees can be imposed.

A similar course of action is being proposed for vehicles on “traffic-sensitive routes where an illegally-parked vehicle is causing or likely to cause significant congestion” and where an illegally-parked vehicle is found to have five or more unpaid tickets.

The council considered setting up its own tow-away service but is preparing to opt for what it believes will be a cheaper option of working with a contractor who already has a pound and equipment.