Diplomats avoid 1.5 million in fines

* Westminster City Council names and shames culprits * Diplomats claiming immunity from fines * Sudanese embassy is worst offender...

Diplomats avoid 1.5 million in fines

Westminster City Council is demanding a change in the law after foreign diplomats last year escaped paying 1.5 million in parking fees.

Council figures have revealed that 60% of parking fines imposed on embassy-owned cars remain unpaid. Westminster City Council is unable to pursue the fines due to the cars' drivers claiming diplomatic immunity.

Councillor Danny Chalkley, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said Westminster was in talks with the Foreign Commonwealth Office in an attempt to tackle the problem.

Chalkley said: 'Nobody likes getting a parking ticket, but most motorists play fair and either pay the fine or follow the appeals process. We would like to see diplomats respect the laws and regulations of the UK by paying their parking tickets.'

The worst offenders were staff from the Sudanese embassy, which has three vehicles owing more than 80,000 in fines from 811 tickets.

Major offenders
* The most prolific offender is a Sudanese diplomat, who drives a black Toyota Avensis and owes almost 37,000 for 349 unpaid tickets.

  • A Guinean diplomat who drives a Mercedes-Benz S-Class owes more than 11,000 for 111 outstanding tickets.

  • A diplomat from Kazakhstan who drives a BMW 5 series owes more than 10,000 for 105 unpaid tickets.

  • The owner of a Mercedes-Benz C-Class registered to the Egyptian embassy has run up 92 tickets and almost 10,000 in fines.