THE council has been accused of placing an “undue burden” on Barnet drivers to plug a hole in the council budget.

Figures obtained by the Times Series show the number of tickets cancelled in the last financial year more than doubled from the year before.

In 2007/8 8,182 appeals were upheld, while in 2008/09 17,874 were overturned by the council, while the number of tickets issued went from 115,205 in 07/08 to 149,137 last year.

In November we revealed the council made an extra £3m in revenue from tickets in 08/09, the biggest of any local authority.

Daniel Cukier, the Barnet representative for the Association of British Drivers, said the figures show the council is unfairly penalising drivers.

He said: “Obviously the council is trying to get extra revenue by ticketing more drivers. This is reflected in the number of cancellations which has more than doubled .

“I've never seen anything like it. For more than double the number of tickets to be cancelled shows something's going wrong somewhere, as more incorrect tickets are being handed out.

“What's worrying is if there's this many tickets getting cancelled then how many more people are getting given them and just paying, despite it being unfair.

“It seems they think they can just hand out incorrect tickets and get away with it.”

Over the same two years the number of tickets overturned before or after appeals to the parking adjudicator (PATAS) also doubled, from 206 to 396.

Mr Cukier added: “Obviously this is placing an undue burden on drivers in the borough and it's clearly wasting a lot of time for people to appeal as a lot of these tickets shouldn't have been given in the first place.

“Obviously I'm staggered by this. It seems the council need to look at their procedures and check their parking attendants really know what they're doing.”

However, councillor Daniel Thomas, who is responsible for transport, said ticketing was essential for regulating traffic flow and parking in shopping and residential areas.

He said: ““I am slightly surprised that the Association of British Drivers is criticising the council for adopting a flexible attitude to the consideration of appeals.

“The appeals process is very straightforward and each appeal is carefully considered before a decision is made.

“Civil enforcement officers are not given any form of performance-related pay or bonuses, and they never have been in this borough, nor are ticket issue numbers a criteria for judging their performance. They are tasked with patrolling specified areas and issuing PCNs where a vehicle is clearly contravening any one of a range of parking restrictions.”