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Private parking enforcement becomes £1 billion industry

Private parking is set to become a billion-pound a year industry as the number of tickets issued by firms hits yet another high.

Data from the DVLA suggests drivers are set to receive more than 11 million penalties in private car parks this financial year, 2022-23.

Already, in the first three quarters of the year, 8,564,762 vehicle keeper records have been bought by the companies from the DVLA.

This figure is a proxy for the number of tickets issued as it allows the firms to chase up vehicle keepers for supposed parking infringements on private land.

Each ticket can be for up to £100 suggesting more than £1 billion will be demanded from drivers this year. 

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Firms also often receive management fees from landowners such as supermarkets, shopping centres and leisure facilities, to look after their car parks for them.

Between July and December 2022, parking firms issued around 5.64 million tickets, a 24% rise on the 4,554,378 issued in the same period in 2021.

That is an average of roughly 31,000 every day.

In July 2022, the Government withdrew a long-awaited code of practice aimed at eradicating some of the sector’s worst actions following a legal challenge by parking companies.

It is not clear when the code – plus an independent appeals service and a scrutiny board – will now be introduced.

The changes to the parking framework are being made under powers granted by the Parking (Code of Practice) Act which became law in March 2019.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“If only the rest of the economy was booming like the private parking sector, perhaps we’d all be feeling more prosperous.

“Private parking looks set to be a billion pound-a-year business, if it isn’t already, with demands for up to £100 a time being sent out to drivers at the rate of more than one every three seconds.

“There’s widespread agreement that the Government should be setting up a regulatory framework for the industry, but it is nearly four years since the relevant law was passed.

“These numbers surely suggest that what’s needed now is action.”

Some 181 parking management businesses have so far requested vehicle keeper records from the DVLA in 2022-23, paying £2.50 a time.

ParkingEye was the most active, buying 1.1 million records.

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