Drivers hit with 2 million extra parking tickets as private firms make up to £680m a year

Drivers hit with 2 million extra parking tickets as private firms make up to £680m a year
Drivers hit with 2 million extra parking tickets as private firms make up to £680m a year

British drivers have been hit with a major rise in the number of tickets handed out by private parking firms.

RAC Foundation analysis of government data has revealed that an additional 2.05 million tickets were issued last year compared with 2017/18.

That represents a 20 per cent annual increase and means the private enforcement companies are making up to £680m a year from UK drivers – a new record.

18,500 tickets a day

The motoring body examined the number of times private firms requested vehicle keeper details from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Almost all such requests are made to allow them to issue charges for motorists parking on private land such as supermarket or shopping centre car parks.

In total. 6.8m such requests were made in the 2018/19 financial year, up from 5.65m in the previous 12 months.

Keeper record requests by private parking firms

Financial year              Number of driver record requests
2018/19 6.8 million
2017/18 5.65 million
2016/17 4.71 million
2015/16 3.67 million
2014/15 3.06 million
2013/14 2.43 million
2012/13 1.89 million
2011/12 1.57 million
2010/11 1.17 million
2009/10 1.03 million
2008/9 687,000
2007/8 499,000
2006/7 272,000
TOTAL 33.44 million

That is equivalent to private firms issuing a penalty charge every five seconds – or 18,653 a day.

With each penalty reaching up to £100 that means a potential £680m payday for car park operators.

In total, 125 firms requested data from the DVLA, with the five main ones lodging 3.73m of them.

Read more: How to appeal a parking ticket

Urgent measures

In the last 13 years more than 33m vehicle keeper records have been obtained by parking firms from the DVLA, with more than half of them in the past three years alone.

New legislation has been passed to impose stronger regulation on private parking operators as well as simplifying the appeals process. (Picture: Shutterstock)
New legislation has been passed to impose stronger regulation on private parking operators as well as simplifying the appeals process. (Picture: Shutterstock)

Earlier this year Sir Greg Knight MP’s private members’ bill Parking (Code of Practice) became law, setting out tougher regulation of private parking operators amid fears drivers were being exploited.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “These staggeringly high numbers stand as a vindication of the urgent need for the measures in Sir Greg Knight’s Act to be put in place – a single, tighter code of practice, a single, consistent appeals body, and strict audit of parking companies’ compliance.

“Businesses who employ private companies to manage their car parks should be taking a close look at how they are operating, the implications for the drivers who will often be their own customers and, ultimately, what that means for their own reputation.

“We have never advocated a parking free-for-all, but for a system that is clear, transparent and fair for drivers and landowners alike.”

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