Councillors have welcomed plans to increase parking fines across South Lanarkshire and hope that the new measure will prevent accidents.

A proposal to increase penalty parking charges from £60 to £100 was approved on September 13 by elected members – the first increase of its kind in over 20 years.

The move comes as the Scottish Government advised local authorities across Scotland of revised levels of the maximum that can be charged for penalty charge notices, meaning the council is now able to increase fines.

The proposal was welcomed by councillors who believed it was a good preventative measure which would prevent people from parking dangerously.

Councillor Davie McLachlan (Hamilton North and East) said: “I think this proposal is the right proposal, I welcome it. And it’s been a while since there’s been any increase.

"I really don’t see it as an attack on motorists, there’s no attack on anyone here, people who do things wrong get punished for it. If they don’t want to pay the fine they shouldn’t be parking where they shouldn’t be parking.”

A penalty charge of £100 will now be issued to those who do not comply with the rules, but if the payment reaches the council within 14 days of issue, it will be reduced to £50.

Other local authorities across Scotland have already implemented the same level of revised changes, or are planning to, and this includes Edinburgh City, East Renfrewshire, Argyll and Bute, Angus, Dundee City, Perth and Kinross and Highland Council.

Councillor Richard Nelson (Larkhall), called out the proposal and claimed that it was an unfair move on motorists.

He said: “It’s quite interesting that none of our neighbouring councils are mentioned there, like Glasgow and North Lanarkshire.

"It would’ve been interesting to see what they’re actually doing because you mentioned other councils in there. And whilst I don’t condone illegal parking for me this is just another attack on motorists again.”

Council officers said that they have been in contact with Glasgow City Council who are also proposing to move to the higher rate. There is currently no information on North Lanarkshire.

Councillor Eileen Logan (Clydesdale West) disagreed with it being unfair on motorists and praised the plans.

She said: “I don’t think it is about the monetary matters, it does come into it, but if you have a high street where there are notices saying don’t come down the high street because you’ll cause an accident, and it’s pedestrian-free from 9am until 6pm, or 8am until 6pm, and you have an active regime of cars going up and down the high street, my casework is taken up every single week, at least three or four complaints about the high street.

“In fact, we had a meeting with our community council and councillors and various different people to discuss what measures might be put in place and one driver did say ‘Well that’s nothing, just give me the £30 fine and I’ll do what I like’.

"So, it’s not an attack on motorists if motorists are doing as they should, such as parking properly, going to the right places and not causing congestion or flying down the high street.

“So to me, it’s not an attack on motorists, although the money does come into it, I would think, hopefully, a preventative measure to try and encourage people to not indiscriminately park, not misbehave and to try to park where they should.”

Councillor Robert Brown (Rutherglen South), asked if there were other preventive measures planned to combat unsafe parking.

He said: “Can I very much echo Eileen’s comments because certain motorists are also pedestrians and residents. And certainly, in my area, the issues that come to my attention are really ones of yellow lines and people blocking corners and obstructions.

“The examples I’ve seen of dangerous and obstructive parking in recent years would really make your hair stand on end.”

Council officials confirmed that there are particular locations in the area that merit additional monitoring and parking attendants target those locations.

Councillor Alex Allison (Clydesdale East) argued that people park illegally due to a lack of parking spaces in specific areas and called for the council to provide extra parking facilities.

He said: “Nobody supports poor parking, I don’t believe that many people will be parking there out of choice, a lot of the time it will be because of the lack of opportunity to park legally, not providing sufficient parking spaces, and I would have hoped it would take a broader view of what we’re doing. Yes, punish those who are breaking the law, I have no argument with the changes in charges but also think about providing sufficient parking spaces.”

He added: “And the downturn of the high street is due to the lack of people being able to park safely, so I think we need to take a much broader view on how we deal with parking, ensuring that we have sufficient parking in the right places as well looking at how we’re going to punish those who break the law. And to punish those people we need to catch them, does this mean that we’ll be able to afford more people to actually go out and issue the tickets or is it simply going to be a paper exercise that isn’t going to achieve anything?”

The council are unable to increase the number of parking attendants due to a lack of funding at the current time.