Car park penalty tickets at record high

The number of parking tickets issued by car park management firms in Britain hit a record 5.65m last year, analysis of government driver data suggests.

The RAC Foundation says the number rose by almost a fifth in a year and was far above levels of a decade ago - writes

Motorists face charges of as much as £100 for contraventions such as overstaying, it said.

The government is backing a bill to introduce a new code of practice for the private parking industry.

The motoring research group said the number of tickets issued in the 2017-18 financial year rose from 4.71m - a year-on-year increase of nearly 20%. A decade ago 499,000 tickets were issued. RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: "Each year we publish this analysis and each year we are not only astonished by the numbers involved, but also by the fact that those numbers keep rocketing up.

"Pursuing so many people must be a major administrative task for the companies involved, but the questions the numbers really beg are what's going wrong? Are Britain's motorists really flouting the rules on such an industrial scale?"

Presentational grey line

Case study: From £5.50 to £170

When Timothy Sheppard arrived at Lingfield Station car park in Surrey on 28 December last year, he found that the parking ticket machines were out of order.

In a rush to catch the train to London, the retired advertising executive said he asked a staff member inside the train station what to do.

"He told me 'it's not ours, we don't operate it' but said 'if you want to catch your train, you can sort it out when you get back'," says Mr Sheppard.

He planned to find a way to pay the £5.50 car parking ticket on his return.

Instead, however, he found a penalty notice for £60 from a company called Indigo Park Solutions which operates the Lingfield Station car park on behalf of Southern Railway.

Mr Sheppard, 76, said he wrote to Indigo Park Solutions to explain that he had been unable to buy a ticket because all the machines were not working and enclosed a payment of £5.50.

Despite having proof of purchase from Royal Mail, Indigo Park Solutions said it has not received the letter.

In the meantime, it had turned the matter over to a debt collecting agency.

Mr Sheppard attempted to dispute the parking penalty with the British Parking Association.

However, to use that service, the driver must first show that he appealed to the operator - in this case Indigo Park Solutions - within 28 days of the date of the original charge.

Because Indigo Park Solutions claimed it had not received Mr Sheppard's letter, the dispute could not proceed.

Mr Sheppard now says that a debt collector acting on behalf of Indigo Park Solutions is seeking £170 - £100 of which is the penalty charge and £70 for "administration".

Mr Sheppard says he is at a loss to know what action to take to resolve a matter that arose because a car park had ticket machines that did not work.

But he is sure of one thing: "I have no intention of paying this."

Indigo Park Solutions was unavailable for comment.

Presentational grey line

The RAC based its figures on the number of vehicle-owner records purchased by car parking management companies from the DVLA in the last financial year.

These businesses are only allowed to purchase car ownership records from the DVLA for the purpose of issuing penalties, said the RAC.

Mr Gooding said the total could be even higher as "some firms will simply slap a demand on to a windscreen".

New legislation

According to the data, ParkingEye Ltd, which is a car park management company owned by the outsourcing group Capita, was the biggest buyer of car ownership records from the DVLA last year.

It purchased 1.76m records compared to 1.53m in the previous financial year.

It is followed by Euro Car Park, which manages private parking spaces across the UK, Ireland and Europe, which bought access to 406,323 records compared to 306,857 in the previous period.

The RAC said that numbers have increased since clamping cars on private land was banned in 2012 under the Protection of Freedoms Act.

The act allowed private parking companies to pursue the registered owner of the vehicle rather than having to prove who the driver was at the time of the offence.

Image copyright

The government is supporting a bill by Conservative MP Sir Greg Knight to introduce legislation to regulate the private parking industry.

Failing to comply with these rules could mean that companies would be blocked from accessing driver data from the DVLA and issuing fines which, the Ministry of Housing and Local Communities said, would effectively force them out of the industry.

A spokesperson for ParkingEye said: "ParkingEye continues to be a member of the British Parking Association and follows its strict code of practice in all the car parks we manage on behalf of our clients.

"We welcome any additional government legislation that aims to drive consistency and improve processes across the entire private parking sector."

Read more news of London on our site.
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
2 views in november
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Police have launched a manhunt after religious idols and Diwali donations were stolen from two north London temples in early morning raids. The Met said the early morning burglaries were being treated as linked and released a CCTV image of a hooded suspect on Saturday. Officers also urged faith leaders to be vigilant against future incidents. The first happened at the Shree Swaminarayan Temple in Willesden Lane, Brent, on November 9. While the priests were...
Rail commuters have been told not to attempt to travel into London Waterloo after engineering works overran. South Western Railway (SWR) passengers using the route into London Waterloo from Surbiton were warned not to travel on Monday morning. Disruption is expected to last for the entire day and the Network Rail engineering works will not be finished until 8.39am at the earliest.  The rail operator said Woking, Surbiton, Raynes Park and Earlsfield station...
Some 82 people have been arrested after hundreds of protesters gathered in central London in attempts to block five bridges on Saturday, as they demanded the Government take greater action on climate change. The group Extinction Rebellion encouraged people to perform a sit-in across Southwark, Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster and Lambeth bridges on following a co-ordinated week of action around the UK. Following their closures, all bridges have now reope...
Almost one million crimes of fly-tipping were reported by councils across England during 2017-18, the first fall in five years. Councils recorded 997,553 incidents of illegal dumping, an average of more than 2,700 a day. It was a slight decrease on the 1,011,000 in 2016-17 and is the first time the figure has dropped since 2013. The government said two-thirds of fly-tipping involved household waste. It did not reveal the total cost to taxpayers of clearing...
Children living in London boroughs with high diesel pollution suffer from stunted lung capacity, putting them at risk of early death, a study has said. Pupils living in areas that failed to meet EU nitrogen dioxide limits were at increased risk of lung disease, researchers found. The research studied 2,000 London school children over five years. "We are raising a generation of children reaching adulthood with stunted lungs," researchers said. Academics fro...
A private school teacher has been left partially blind after another woman smashed a glass in her face during a night out.  Lisa Bertsch, 30, was at the Be At One bar in Richmond when she was hit in her right eye. The tumbler shattered and left Ms Bertsch, who lives with her boyfriend in Kingston, needing emergency surgery. She said the attack happened when she tried to stop the assailant pouring a cocktail over her friend’s belongings. Ms Bertsch added th...
Discarded syringes have been left in play areas and car parks as a BBC investigation found councils were being called 50 times a day to remove them. Figures obtained by the BBC showed councils handled 18,496 cases in 2017-18, a rise of 7% in two years. A volunteer pricked by a discarded needle has told how he faces a wait for HIV and hepatitis test results. The Department for Communities and Local Government said it was "committed to doing more to reduce d...
The German Zeppelin bombing campaign of London during WWI has been brought to the fore again days before the centenary of the war in a film made by schoolchildren. The first ever example of strategic bombing in history - a tactic used in total war with the goal of defeating the enemy by destroying their morale or economy - was during the First World War Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II initially banned attacks on the capital because of his close connection to the...
London’s busiest train station has recruited a hawk to scare off pigeons following a spate of complaints from angry passengers. Aria, a five-year-old harris hawk, has begun patrolling Waterloostation in a bid to stop people having to “fight" off pigeons while eating. There are 27 food and drink retailers at the Network Rail-managed station, and many customers have complained about pigeons pecking at food and leaving a mess. The birds have been pictured sit...