The number of penalty tickets issued to drivers parking on private land has risen 20% in the last 12 months, according to new RAC Foundation data.
Analysis of DVLA data shows that for the 2018-19 financial year, 6.8 million sets of vehicle keeper records were released to car parking management companies – up 20% on the figure of 5.65 million for the previous financial year and marking a new high.
The records are used by car parking management companies to slap private parking fines on motorists and, on this level, equate to a penalty notice every five seconds.
With fines ranging up to £100, it also means that parking firms could be demanding up to £680m from drivers on an annual basis.
Currently, all private parking firms wanting to access the vehicle-keeper data held by the DVLA need to be members of an Accredited Trade Association (ATA) and abide by that ATA’s code of practice. There are currently two ATAs – the British Parking Association and the International Parking Community; both of which have established appeals bodies that drivers can take their cases to if initial appeals to member firms fail.
However, in March 2019 Sir Greg Knight MP’s private members’ bill Parking (Code of Practice) became law. This new act lays the framework for the establishment of a single, government-sanctioned, industry-wide code of practice as well as a single independent appeals service and an independent ombudsman to oversee the behaviour of the parking industry.
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.”