OFFICIAL dates have been set for when parking enforcement officers will begin working in North Ayrshire.

The decision to proceed with Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) without car parking charges was agreed at a meeting of North Ayrshire Council (NAC) on February 15, 2023.

Since then the local government have been recruiting officers to implement DPE across the area.

The finer details of the DPE regime are set to be rubber-stamped next week before the new system is introduced across the area.

DPE transfers the power to enforce almost all parking offences away from the police and on to the shoulders of the local authority.

At an NAC cabinet meeting on Tuesday, March 19, elected members will be asked to note the commencement of DPE and approve the finer details of what officers can enforce.

All moving traffic offences, matters of obstruction and some temporary waiting restrictions remain the responsibility of Police Scotland.

It is proposed that a "soft launch" for parking officers will begin on Thursday, March 28. Enforcement officers will then be working from 7.30am until 10pm every day.

For the 'soft launch' period, which will last for two weeks, warning notices rather than penalty charges will be issued to raise awareness of the parking behaviours that will incur a penalty once the regulations are enforced.

Restrictions will then be imposed in full from Monday, April 15.

The dates chosen for the soft launch period mean no penalty charges will be issued for the entire period of the Easter school holidays.

The standard penalty charge will be £100, but if paid within 14 days of the notice being issued, the penalty will drop to £50.

Documents made available ahead of the cabinet meeting on Tuesday also discuss further what will constitute a parking offence - including clarification on some contentious issues.

Common sins which will earn the offender a ticket include parking on double yellow lines, parking in a disabled space without a blue badge, staying in a parking space for longer than allowed, and parking in a bus stop or taxi rank.

On the thorny issue of pavement parking, double parking and parking at dropped kerbs, councils across Scotland now have the power to issue penalty charges.

However, the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 also gives councils the power to make some footways exempt from the pavement parking ban, in certain circumstances.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Pavement parking.

Parking on a pavement will not be considered an offence if the layout or character of the footway would allow for a width of 1.5 metres to remain unobstructed when any part of a vehicle is parked on it.

Exemptions will also be allowed if the layout or character of the pavement and carriageway is such that the passage of an emergency vehicle would be impeded by a vehicle parked on the road.

Documents prepared ahead of the cabinet meeting state that footway assessments have been carried out in North Ayrshire prior to the rollout of DPE.

These indicated that only a small number of streets in the area have significant footway parking where mitigation measures may be required.

Warning notices will be issued during the 'soft launch' DPE trial in North Ayrshire in areas highlighted in those footway assessments as having significant pavement parking problems.

The report to the cabinet also says that penalty charges can't be imposed solely on evidence submitted to the council by members of the public, and that an enforcement office must personally witness the violation before issuing a ticket.