Despite a blockade imposed on Qatar by its next-door neighbours, this one (Qatar) did manage to show off its flag, in its not so unusual way in the London streets but at a cost of the severe and restrictive parking and road traffic fines. Every summer, certain areas of the British capital are turned into self-improvised rolling exhibitions of all Gulf countries that generally excel in 4-wheel driving extravaganza.
This year was no exception with activities as reported in this article of Doha News republished here with our compliments to the author and publisher.
With £1 = QR4.98 and US$1.34,
Supercars clamped outside Harrods. Credit: Supplied
Drivers with Qatar license plates are the second worst offenders worldwide when it comes to unpaid parking fines racked up in central London.
This week, London’s Westminster City Council released a list of the top ten countries whose nationals owe the largest amounts.
The worst offending foreign drivers are apparently from France. They owe a collective £356,000 (QR 1.76m) in outstanding fees.
Qatar came second on the list, with a whopping £191,105 (QR944,834) still owed to the central London district, home of Buckingham Palace and myriad other landmarks.
Meanwhile, the UAE came third, with unpaid fines totaling £116,030 (QR577,540).
Westminster City Council said in a statement that this year’s top 10 ranking contained more Middle Eastern countries than ever before.
Saudi Arabia entered the list this year for the first time in eighth place, and Kuwait is also on the list, in ninth.
They edged out countries who’d previously featured prominently in the rankings, including Switzerland, the US, Italy and Luxembourg.
Qatar came third in last year’s rankings after France and Germany, with total fines of £114,605 (QR570,439).
Westminster City Council said that it has been difficult to contact vehicle owners abroad to collect the fees.
It has asked the British government for help in establishing a system of international cooperation to allow local authorities to trace foreign motorists.
It added that it was constantly working with foreign embassies and governments to persuade their nationals to pay their dues.
It also said that it was in the “early stages” of trialling a process of obtaining a judgment in the UK against foreign persistent evaders, with the potential to transfer proceedings abroad.
Danny Chalkley, Cabinet Member for City Highways at Westminster Council, said that while visitors from abroad are welcomed, they should pay up for breaking the rules:
“Drivers who park irresponsibly are a nuisance for our residents and visitors alike. This should be a reminder that a foreign number plate does not give you immunity from the law,” he said.