New researchfrom Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles reveals that UK firms have been hit withparking fines totalling £1.7 million in the last three years for parking fleet vehiclesincorrectly or stopping in loading bays.

Localcouncils across the UK have been issuing 13,000 parking fines a year onaverage, a figure which has been rising by around 10% year-on-year.

Theever-growing problem of loading bay parking fines suggests the rules aroundtheir use are increasingly unclear for fleet drivers.

Less than aquarter (23%) of appeals against Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) awarded forimproper usage of loading bays were successful too, suggesting that most firmsare unsure when they are in the wrong.

Currentlegislation surrounding the use of loading bays states that fleets can stop ata loading bay to drop off or collect goods that require a vehicle to transportthem.

If a vehicleis left unattended to move or collect such goods it must be made clear, oftenthrough the use of hazard lights.

However,fleet drivers cannot use loading bays to stop in without loading or unloadinggoods, or to wait for parking. Time restrictions on loading bays also vary fromcouncil to council, so it’s important for businesses to check before settingoff.

Glasgow,Manchester and Haringey councils have issued the most PCNs for illegal use ofloading bays in the last three years.

Sarah Cox,head of marketing, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “As this researchreveals, PCNs are costing businesses thousands of pounds a year when, in fact,they can be avoided completely if you understand the rules correctly.

“Loadingbays are an essential part of the red route network as they allow businesses toaccess central locations to make and receive important deliveries.

“As therules change between councils, it is crucial that you check before you park.”