British drivers have been hit with a major rise in the number of tickets handed out by private parking firms.
RAC Foundation analysis of government data has revealed that an additional 2.05 million tickets were issued last year compared with 2017/18.
That represents a 20 per cent annual increase and means the private enforcement companies are making up to £680m a year from UK drivers – a new record.
18,500 tickets a day
The motoring body examined the number of times private firms requested vehicle keeper details from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Almost all such requests are made to allow them to issue charges for motorists parking on private land such as supermarket or shopping centre car parks.
In total. 6.8m such requests were made in the 2018/19 financial year, up from 5.65m in the previous 12 months.
Keeper record requests by private parking firms
Financial year Number of driver record requests 2018/19 6.8 million 2017/18 5.65 million 2016/17 4.71 million 2015/16 3.67 million 2014/15 3.06 million 2013/14 2.43 million 2012/13 1.89 million 2011/12 1.57 million 2010/11 1.17 million 2009/10 1.03 million 2008/9 687,000 2007/8 499,000 2006/7 272,000 TOTAL 33.44 million
That is equivalent to private firms issuing a penalty charge every five seconds – or 18,653 a day.
With each penalty reaching up to £100 that means a potential £680m payday for car park operators.
In total, 125 firms requested data from the DVLA, with the five main ones lodging 3.73m of them.
Read more: How to appeal a parking ticket
In the last 13 years more than 33m vehicle keeper records have been obtained by parking firms from the DVLA, with more than half of them in the past three years alone.
Earlier this year Sir Greg Knight MP’s private members’ bill Parking (Code of Practice) became law, setting out tougher regulation of private parking operators amid fears drivers were being exploited.
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.”