The latest occurrence is reported here on pepipoo. However the Prankster knows that this is not an isolated incident and will no doubt be reporting on the others when the time is right.
To summarise the incident. Doncaster Airport (Robin Hood) do not want motorists stopping on the airport roads to let passengers in or out of vehicles. They have signs to this effect, but they leave something to be desired.
This is one of the entrance signs (picture taken June 2013), hidden behind flags and another sign. Although signs elsewhere are not obscured, the fonts are too small and there is too much text to be read from a moving vehicle.
The Prankster does not have any panoramic photographs from Robin Hood airport to show the signs in context, but here is one from John Lennon airport, also managed by VCS, and the signs are similar.
Here is a close-up picture of the actual signage at the entrance to Robin Hood Airport. As you can see, the writing is far too small and there is far too much of it to read from a moving vehicle.
The driver, unable to read the signs from a moving vehicle, safely stopped in a closed off exit on a roundabout and got out to read the signs. The driver then discussed what to do with the passengers, decided not to accept any implied contract, and left.
It is therefore extremely ironic that VCS issued an ANPR ticket for stopping briefly, because the only way you can read the signs is to stop.
The registered keeper appealed to VCS who rejected the appeal, and then to POPLA on the single appeal point that the airport roads are covered by bye-laws and are therefore not subject to POFA 2012. As the registered keeper is therefore not liable the charge should be cancelled as only the driver can be pursued.
POFA 2012 is quite clear on this:
3(1)In this Schedule “relevant land” means any land (including land above or below ground level) other than—
(a)a highway maintainable at the public expense (within the meaning of section 329(1) of the Highways Act 1980);
(b)a parking place which is provided or controlled by a traffic authority;
(c)any land (not falling within paragraph (a) or (b)) on which the parking of a vehicle is subject to statutory control.
Airport land covered by bye-laws (statutory control) falls under 3(c) and is therefore exempt from POFA 2012.
The next document the registered keeper received was a POPLA verdict. Surprisingly his appeal was turned down.
The appellant’s case is that the operator has failed to comply with the
Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 in that they have failed to show that the
land is relevant land. The appellant states that the airport is subject to byelaws
and is therefore outside of the definition of relevant land. The appellant
additionally puts the operator to proof of their right to invoke the Protection of
Freedoms Act where the bye-laws do not exclude the roads in the airport
which is where the incident occurred.
Considering carefully all the evidence before me, the appellant does notEven more surprisingly, the operator, VCS stated there are no byelaws. This is a blatant lie, as the byelaws are freely available here on the airport web site.
dispute that the contravention occurred by states that the land in question is
not relevant land. The threshold for the operator to show that the land is
relevant land is not a high threshold and by stating that there are no byelaws,
I am satisfied that the operator has satisfied this threshold. The appellant
does not reference the bye-laws that he is referring to and intending to rely
upon and therefore on a balance of probabilities, I am satisfied that the
operator has sufficiently shown that the land in question is relevant land. As a
result of stopping where stopping is prohibited, the appellant was stopped in
breach of the terms and conditions.
The bye-laws make it quite clear that parking controls apply to all private roads on the airport.
5. PROHIBITED ACTS ON PARTS OF THE AIRPORT TO WHICH THE ROAD
TRAFFIC ENACTMENTS DO NOT APPLY
The following acts are prohibited on any part of the Airport to which the Road
Traffic Enactments do not apply:
except in an emergency, leave or park a Vehicle or cause it to wait for a period in
excess of the permitted time in an area where the period of waiting is restricted by
5(11) Failure to comply with a direction
when the driver of a Vehicle without reasonable excuse fail to comply with any
direction for the regulation of traffic given by a Constable, Airport Official or
5(12) Parking of VehiclesThe registered keeper could of course have pointed out that VCS were lying...if he had received their evidence pack. Evidence packs should be received 7 days before the hearing to give the appellant time to review them for accuracy. The Prankster notes that this is not the only time evidence packs have gone missing. POPLA do not have a robust system for handling evidence packs. They rely on the operator to send them out, causing obvious problems. The Prankster has received many evidence packs where the operator has lied regarding the date when the were sent out.
without reasonable excuse park a Vehicle elsewhere than in a place provided for
The keeper is now contacting POPLA to inform them that he has not received any evidence pack from VCS and therefore has not had the chance to contest their evidence. The Prankster notes that in the past where this has happened POPLA have re-opened the appeal, made sure the motorist has got the evidence pack, and then re-heard the appeal.
The Prankster suggests that the motorist also contacts VCS and informs them that he is contesting the POPLA verdict because he has not received their evidence pack yet. This will stop the clock on any action on their part until the appeal is re-heard.
The Prankster also notes that POPLA have been very slow in acting in situations like this in the past. The registered keeper and VCS could be in for a long wait as some of these cases have taken over 5 months for POPLA to finally make the decision to re-open the case. The Prankster wonders if the phone number of Richard Reeve (0207 520 7202), tribunal manager at POPLA, will soon become etched into the speed dial of the registered keeper's phone as he tries to hurry POPLA along.
POPLA are currently shut until 6th January.
The Parking Prankster