NEARLY £5,000,000 in fines handed out by Bradford Council for traffic offences have gone unpaid in the past three years.

Since April 2016 more than 300,000 Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) have been issued by the Council.

They cover such incidents as parking fines and bus lane violations.

But only 75% of those have been paid according to figures released under Freedom of Information requests leaving nearly 80,000 outstanding.

A total of 12,000 were cancelled, 44,000 were written off, 20,000 were unsuccessfully challenged and nearly 3,000 were still outstanding.

At £60 each - the charge for bus lane contraventions - that means the Council has missed out on about £4,800,000 in revenue.

PCNs are written off when the debt is not recoverable. This will include vehicles not registered with the DVLA, foreign vehicles, PCNs issued in error and cases returned from Enforcement Agents as unrecoverable.

The Council said penalty charge notices can be cancelled or written off in a number of circumstances.

Charles Hainsworth, who asked for the details, said that the number of PCNs potentially issued to unregistered or foreign vehicles was concerning.

He said: "How many unregistered or cloned vehicles are driving around in Bradford at any one time? Why is the debt unenforceable on legitimate vehicles. We have all the details so why not seize them?

"It appears that Bradford Council are taking the easy option and the situation will get worse as word has already got around in certain parts of the city that you can drive where you want and park where you want as no action will be enforced by the council."

The figures show that over the past three years 130,264 PCNs had been issued for on-street parking contraventions, 28,975 for off-street penalties and 178,982 for using bus lane contraventions.

In addition there were 17 PCNs issued to drivers in the year to March 2019 when they parked in electric charging bays when they shouldn't.

Of the 338,238 PCNs issued, 22,536 (7%) were successfully challenged, leaving 315,702 were correctly issued.

A total of 236,092 were paid (75%) leaving 76,610 unpaid.

Of the 57,611 parking contraventions in the year to March 31, 2019, 31,103 (57%) were recorded in the city centre, 3,174 (6%) in Bradford East, 7,612 (13%) in Bradford West, 921 (2%) in Bradford South, 9,157 (16%) in Keighley and 3,644 (6%) in Shipley.

Philip Davies MP (Con, Shipley) said: “Perhaps Bradford Council should do better at pursuing those people who break existing rules before sneaking through an unnecessary extension of bus lane restrictions on bank holidays to try to make up the shortfall”

A Bradford Council spokesperson, said: “Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) are an important deterrent against illegal and antisocial parking which causes nuisance and serious road safety hazards.

“The Council may cancel a PCN on appeal in a number of reasonable circumstances, for example, when a disabled person forgets to display their Blue Badge, or a permit holder misplaces their permit. On the first occasion owners receive a warning letter.

“PCNs are can be written off for a range of reasons such as where vehicle owner is not registered with the DVLA, when the Council cannot locate them at the registered address, or when an owner is deceased, bankrupt or is in prison.”

The amount owed in fines could be less as the cost of parking and bus lane penalties can be reduced by half if paid within 14 days.

Parking fines are either £50 or £70 depending on the seriousness of the offence.