§ Mr. Stevens
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he has reached a decision on whether to allow the Metropolitan Police to use wheel clamps on illegally parked cars in order to improve traffic conditions in inner London.
§ Mr. David Howell
The Metropolitan Police and the GLC must be aided in their efforts to improve conditions for road travel in London. The added congestion caused by inconsiderate and illegal parking in central London makes life more difficult for everyone and impedes the movements of goods and people which are vital if a modern city is to thrive.
We have already taken a number of initiatives which should help tackle illegal parking. The fixed penalty for illegal parking has recently been increased to £10, and I have included in the Transport Bill improved procedures which will make it much more difficult to avoid the penalties.168W
During the last two years the number of traffic wardens in London has increased after several years of decline, and my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is determined to maintain this progress.
However, the Metropolitan Police have made very strong representations that the selective use of wheel clamps would add a further important deterrent to illegal parking. In this they have been strongly supported by the GLC and the LBA.
In the light of these representations I have decided to introduce an amendment to the Transport Bill which will allow them to use these devices on an experimental basis in selected areas.
At the same time I am concerned about inadequate parking opportunities for those who need to use their cars in Central London. I have asked the GLC to review the supply of short term parking space. It has agreed to take this up with the London boroughs and I have already had a positive response from the City of Westminster.