The number of parking tickets issued to drivers on private land has surged to a new high in the last year, according to the latest figures.
Data shows that 5.65 million vehicle keeper records were released by the DVLA to car parking management companies during the last financial year. RAC Foundation analysis suggests most of these will be related to infringement of regulations in private car parks.
The 5.65 million released records is contrasted with 4.71 million in the last financial year. Only a decade ago (in 2007/08), just 499,000 records were released.
With some contraventions such as overstaying carrying penalty charges up to £100, it is suggested the parking firms could be taking £565 million from drivers each year.
The top five companies purchasing data from the DVLA in 2017-18 were:
1. ParkingEye Ltd – 1,768,233 records (1,530,259 in 2016-17)
2. Euro Car Parks – 406,323 records (306,857)
3. Smart Parking Ltd – 390,860 records (329,157)
4. Athena ANPR Ltd – 318,486 records (246,743)
5. Ranger Services Ltd for Highview Parking Ltd – 274,591 records (271,917)
The Protection of Freedoms Act banned clamping on private land apart from in exceptional circumstances in 2012. The Act also specified that private parking companies could pursue registered keepers of vehicles, instead of having to prove the identity of the driver during the occurrence of the incident.
For private parking firms to retrieve this vehicle-keeper data from the DVLA, they must be rule-abiding members of an Accredited Trade Association (ATA). The two ATAs currently in operation are the British Parking Association and the International Parking Community.
Both ATAs offer independent appeals services through which drivers can challenge the validity of tickets, although only after initial appeals processes to private parking firms have failed.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, 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?
“We strongly support Sir Greg Knight in his initiative to get some regulation in place through a private member’s bill that will establish much-needed independent scrutiny of what’s going on in the private parking world. Only then can we be reassured that the cards aren’t stacked against the motorist.”