Journalist claims she was issued £100 parking fine while breastfeeding her baby

1 month ago 6

A mother has claimed she was issued a £100 parking fine for 'overstaying' at the petrol station she'd used to fill her car while she breastfed her child. 

Journalist Cassie Werber, from London, a senior reporter at gloabl news agency Quartz, took to Twitter to rant about the charge and to ask whether the company 'supports breastfeeding' - suggesting it may be 'discriminating' against her under the Equality Act 2010. 

Bp stated is has 'no intention' of charging 'genuine customers' with parking fines, and that the claim will be investigated and dropped if it is found to be incorrect. 

There are around 1,200 BP-branded sites in the UK, 300 of which are operated by BP, with the other 900 operated by independent retailers. 

Journalist Cassie Werber, from London, (pictured on BBC News)  took to Twitter to claim she was issued a £100 parking fine while breastfeeding her child 

Cassie, who is a senior reporter at Quartz global news agency, took to Twitter to rant about the charge and to ask whether the company 'supports breastfeeding'

Cassie wrote: 'I've just been issued with a £100 parking fine for breastfeeding in my own car. 

'I explained the situation to the parking company, MET Parking Services, in an appeal. They have just rejected it. I was at a bp petrol station at the time, where I also bought petrol!' 

She claimed that her 'grounds for fine' was overstaying at the car park for 18 minutes, and accused the company of potentially being in 'contravention of the Equality Act 2010', which states that woman can't be discriminated against for breastfeeding. 

Cassie said that the absence of 'safe indoor spaces'for mothers meant  being 'fined for using her own car' was even 'tougher'

'Are women not protected to breastfeed in their own vehicles?,' she went on.

'In this case I was a customer, but I'd have thought that simply needing to breastfeed, as long as you're parked safely, should be enough to allow women to park wherever they can?' 

'If there isn't any clarity in the law on this point, can that be changed? I've just written to my MP @stellacreasy to ask this question. It's important at the moment because right now breastfeeding mothers have almost nowhere to go.' 

In reply to her thread, a spokesperson for BP advised her to contact their customer service team. 

The spokesperson wrote: 'Hi Cassie, bp has no intention of charging genuine customers to our sites, and if a mistake has been made then we will of course investigate it.' 

The mother also admitted that the pandemic has made an already difficult situation harder as a young mother, and that in the absence of 'safe indoor spaces', being 'fined for using her own car' has made it even 'tougher'.  

In reply to her thread, BP stated that they have 'no intention' of charging 'genuine customers' with parking fines, and that the claim will be investigated and dropped if it is found to be incorrect

She wrote: 'Covid has made being a new mum really tough anyway: Barely any in-person support, no baby groups, and no access to a wider network of friends and family. 

'We're coming in to winter, there are almost no safe indoor spaces, and now we're being fined for using our own cars!'  

BP has a small number of sites across the UK in areas where there is particularly high demand for parking which have controls in place, these are run by a third party company, to enforce a limited stay at the sites. 

BP has a small number of sites across the UK in areas where there is particularly high demand for parking which have controls in place, run by a third party 

Usually, the restriction in place is for no more than 30 minutes of parking.  

If a penalty is triggered in the system, the customer will receive a penalty charge of £100, reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days of the charge being issued.

These restrictions are in place on only a small number of bp operated sites across the country are run by independent parking companies. 

A spokesperson for MET Parking Services said: 'This appeal has been reviewed and the parking charge in question cancelled.

'We would encourage any motorist needing to stay on site longer than the permitted time to speak to a member of staff on site, who can try to accommodate individual needs and circumstances where possible.

'Our BPA audited appeals process is evidence based. We ask motorists to provide us with as much information as possible so that we can consider any mitigating circumstances. 

'Should a motorist not be satisfied with the outcome they also have the opportunity to appeal to the independent appeals service, POPLA, which is a free and easy to use service.'

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