Drivers suffer 24% increase in parking tickets

The number of parking tickets issued by private companies in Britain soared by 24% in the second half of 2022.

A record 5.7 million tickets were handed out between July and December, analysis of Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) data by the PA news agency found.

That is an average of around 31,000 every day and is up from a total of 4.6 million during the same period in 2021.

Each ticket can be up to £100, meaning the total annual cost to drivers could exceed £1.1 billion at the current rate.

Parking tickets issued by private companies in Britain
(PA Graphics)

Private parking businesses have been accused of using misleading and confusing signage, aggressive debt collection and unreasonable fees.

In July 2022, the Government withdrew a long-awaited code of practice aimed at eradicating some of the sector’s worst actions following a legal challenge by parking companies.

The DVLA figures show the number of records obtained from the agency by companies chasing car owners for alleged infringements in private car parks such as at shopping centres, leisure facilities and motorway service areas.

They do not include car parks run by councils.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: “If only the rest of the economy was booming like the private parking sector, perhaps we’d all be feeling more prosperous.

“Private parking looks set to be a billion pound-a-year business, if it isn’t already, with demands for up to £100 a time being sent out to drivers at the rate of more than one every three seconds.

“There’s widespread agreement that the Government should be setting up a regulatory framework for the industry, but it is nearly four years since the relevant law was passed.

“These numbers surely suggest that what’s needed is action now.”

The code of practice, which was due to come into force across Britain by the end of 2023, stated that the cap on tickets for some parking offences should be halved to £50.

The withdrawal pending a review of charges could lead to a further delay in its implementation.

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokeswoman said: “We are determined to create a new private parking code of practice which will bring in a fairer system with motorists’ interests at its heart.

“We’re working with industry and consumer groups to introduce the code as quickly as possible.”

Some 184 parking management businesses requested vehicle owner records between July and December.

ParkingEye was the most active, buying 1.1 million records.

The DVLA charges private companies £2.50 per record.

The agency says its fees are set to recover the cost of providing the information, and it does not make any money from the process.

– Here are the number of vehicle keeper records obtained from the DVLA by parking management companies in the second half of every year since 2017:

2017: 3.4 million

2018: 3.5 million

2019: 4.3 million

2020: 3.0 million (affected by the coronavirus pandemic)

2021: 4.6 million

2022: 5.7 million