Neil Herron is a man used to taking on a big fight . . . and winning. The former market trader was thrust into the political arena when Trading Standards Officers threatened to seize his non-metric scales. He assisted his colleague, greengrocer Steve Thoburn, who was convicted of the criminal offence of selling bananas by the pound.
The ‘Metric Martyrs’, as they were dubbed by the press, were crowned European Campaigners of the Year in 2001 for their David against Goliath stand. Now, some seven years later, the European Commission and the Government have abandoned the enforced metrication programme. Recent press headlines announced that the pint, the pound, the mile and the yard had been saved.
Neil also led the ‘No’ campaign in the north-east against Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott’s plans for a North East Assembly. The 78% ‘No’ vote was the biggest ever referendum defeat for any British Government.
His involvement in parking issues came about due to a constitutional challenge. Under the scheme known as ‘Decriminalised Parking Enforcement’ parking has ceased to be a criminal matter in more and more local authority areas. Neil considers that councils are jumping on a money-spinning bandwagon.
He claims that the issuing of civil parking tickets now means that they can keep the revenue raised. Disputes cease to be dealt with by a Court of Law, and are instead dealt with by the ‘independent’ tribunals PATAS (The Parking and Traffic Appeals Service) and NPAS (The National Parking Adjudication Service), the former working in London and the latter dealing with cases outside the capital.
Neil claims that these bodies receive a cut from every ticket issued and that the Councils appoint the adjudicators and assist with the administration. This, he says, conflicts with the English Bill of Rights, which states that you can only be fined by a court (not a local authority) and the European Convention on Human Rights, which states that any tribunal must be independent and impartial.
Believing that Decriminalised Parking Enforcement was nothing more than a ‘cash-cow’ for all those involved Neil began investigating and exposing what he saw as the illegality of many local authorities’ operations. Two Trevor McDonald Tonight programmes, and an undercover expose of illegality in Sunderland City Council’s DPE operation, led to many parking tickets being written off or refunded. The campaign has now expanded into a commercial operation and Neil has launched a website www.parkingappeals.co.uk to pass on all the secrets to the motoring public.
The site (under construction at the time of writing) will show how to appeal against invalid parking penalties and how to get tickets cancelled. Soon, Neil says, he will also reveal how most local authorities’ tickets were not legal before 2006 and that some are still not legal. He also plans to provide guidance on how to go about claiming refunds for tickets that have been paid in the last six years.
To help publicise the website and the company a vehicle and a registration plate seemed essential. A simple image to help the press and media to immediately grasp what the company was about. The registration F1 NEDwas sourced through Regtransfers.co.uk, and the transfer quickly completed. Neil says that the combination of plate and vehicle is a ‘head-turner’ wherever it goes and the website as a result is catching the business.
Statistically, it is likely that 1 in 4 motorists will be charged a parking fine in the next 12 months.www.parkingappeals.co.uk aims to give you the information you need to stop you being F1 NED illegally.