Councils dished out parking fines at the rate of merely one every four seconds this past year, it has been revealed.
Local authorities issued around 7.8 million parking penalty charge notices (PNCs) in 2013 amounting to £255 million in fines, according to research by Churchill.
And the figures could be even higher, as the statistics connect with responses from only 187 of the 435 UK councils contacted for data underneath the Freedom of knowledge Act.
According to Churchill, Westminster council issued the highest amount of PCNs among responding councils and generated the most in potential revenues last year.
Westminster handed drivers 455,390 parking fines, worth more than £24 million.
Outside London, Cardiff council issued by far the most parking fines
The top 13 locations for total PCNs issued last were all London boroughs. Outside London, Cardiff council issued the very best number of parking fines at 56,766 and North Somerset generated the most revenue at £2.25 million.
Despite 7.8 million tickets being issued in 2013, just 445,818 PCNs were successfully appealed against during the year, roughly equal to 6 % of the total PCNs issued. The highest amount of appeals was in Haringey in north London, where 21,617, or 13 percent were successfully challenged.
Steve Barrett, head of Churchill Car Insurance, said: Parking regulations are a hugely important component of keeping roads clear and safe, but it’s also essential that fines are fair and proportionate. In many areas, parking restrictions can be confusing and appear inconsistent, so we’d urge motorists being vigilant when parking their vehicles to prevent hefty fines.
The capital is extremely congested so we’d expect to see a better number of restrictions in place and penalties being issued. However, there is a fine line between fair and opportunistic that councils shouldn’t be tempted to cross.
Are councils using parking fines as a tax or cash cow?
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: The law is clear. Councils must not use parking as a tax or cash cow, and we are currently looking at the potentially illegal consumption of councils’ parking contracts.
Councils should open their books so that any interested members of the public can scrutinise local parking practice and expose any dodgy deals.
He went on: This government is reining in over-zealous parking enforcement and unfair parking practices in England, together with the levels of parking penalty charges being kept under review.
We have scrapped Whitehall planning policy that encouraged councils to hike parking charges and removed restrictions throughout the provision of off-street parking spaces. We also recently announced further reforms including stopping CCTV being utilized for on-street parking enforcement and reviewing unnecessary yellow lines.