New rule forces Danish councils to go lenient on parking fines

Motorists who struggle to find a park in Denmark may be relieved by the news that parking fines are set to become less frequent in some parts of the country.

New rule forces Danish councils to go lenient on parking fines
File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

A number of small municipalities in Denmark are set to abandon certain parking regulations, saying they do not have the resources to enforce them.

New rules introduced this year require municipalities to hand over 70 percent of money received from parking fines to the state, an increase from the previous 50 percent.

That means local authorities would lose money by enforcing parking rules, municipality officials have said.

“We would have to find the money [to pay for traffic attendants, ed.] somewhere, and it might be a carer or a nursery teacher that loses their job so we can finance it,” lord mayor Thomas Adelskov of Odsherred Municipality told DR Sjælland.

“So we have terminated our agreements and will now longer have parking inspectors in Odsherred Municipality,” Adelskov added.

Parkering Nord, a company which provides parking inspection services in 25 municipalities across the country, confirmed that the town councils in Struer and Thisted had also torn up their agreements for enforcement of parking regulations.

“There may well be big problems with people parking all over the place, but we can no longer control that, so the police will have to step in,” Adelskov said.

But law enforcement in the area has no plans to take over the task currently performed by parking wardens, said Peter Stryhn, head of the traffic department with Central and West Zealand Police.

“It is sad that municipalities are cutting back or abolishing parking control. This is not something the police traffic department has time to deal with,” Stryhn told DR Sjælland.

Police respond if a car is parked dangerously, but do not have the resources to perform preventative parking control, the traffic department leader added.

Adelskov said he hoped the problem could be solved by giving smaller municipalities – which have low incomes from parking fines – more leeway over financing.

“One option could be a differentiated model, so (stricter rules) are applied where municipalities seem to be making money from parking fines, instead of hitting the rest of us who are just trying to regulate traffic,” he said.

READ ALSO: How Copenhagen could transform one of its busiest roads into a park

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Copenhagen residents could pay 100 times more for parking

Copenhagen Municipality is set to hike the price of the residents’ parking permit by as much as 100 times the current fee for some vehicle types.

Copenhagen residents could pay 100 times more for parking
File photo: Celina Dahl/Ritzau Scanpix

The measure, reported by Politiken, is part of efforts to reduce the number of vehicles in the city.

Steep increases will particularly affect petrol and diesel-powered cars, the newspaper writes.

The change in the price of residents’ parking licences will come into effect from spring 2020.

Residents’ parking permits (beboerlicens) have, since 2017, been price-graded according to the emissions of the vehicle to which the permit applies. Diesel and petrol cars with the most economic fuel ratings for their type fall into categories A+ to A++++.

Those categories are currently liable for annual parking permit fees of just 10 kroner. That is scheduled to increase to 1,000 kroner as of next year.

Meanwhile, vehicles with low emissions ratings face a price increase to 4,000 kroner, twice the current rate.

“The price of 10 kroner for a residents’ parking permit is completely meaningless in relation to the price of a square metre in Copenhagen. It is out of proportion in relation to what we want to get out of the city’s space,” Fanny Broholm, a city council representative and climate and energy spokesperson for the environmentalist Alternative party, told Politiken.

“The most effective measure (Copenhagen) municipality has to reduce car traffic is parking restrictions. So it’s necessary to adjust upwards as much as possible in relation to parking. Permits, parking rates, removal of parking spaces and expansion of paid parking zones. Those are the options we have,” Broholm also said.

Copenhageners will still pay less to park their cars than residents of other major Nordic cities, but more than elsewhere in Denmark, according to Politiken’s report.

A Stockholm resident’s parking permit costs 9,000 kroner annually, while Oslo charges 2,200 kroner, the newspaper writes.

Aarhus permits cost 500 kroner annually – but nothing for electric and hydrogen-powered cars – while the price in Odense is 600 kroner per year.

The parking permit cost for electric and hydrogen cars in Copenhagen will increase from 10 kroner to 200 kroner yearly.

READ ALSO: Denmark to consider 'several issues' with problematic parking law