Park life: the UK’s biggest problem parking areas

  • Barnet has the most recorded parking violations, retrieving an estimated £48 million from parking fines alone      –
  • On average only 64% of UK parking fines are paid in full   –

Research from leading warranty provider Warranty Direct reveals the London Borough of Barnet is the nation’s biggest parking violations offender, racking up over 547,000 parking violations over a two-year period.

Warranty Direct analysed data from 37* local council areas in England to discover which areas had the most and least parking fines. The research comes in the wake of a recent study which found councils in England have seen their parking fine profits rise 32% in the last 4 years, generating £867 million in total from nation-wide parking fines in 2017-18 alone.

London Boroughs make up 8 of the top 10 offenders:

Top 10 areas by no. parking violations
Location No. of offences
Barnet 547393
Hammersmith & Fulham 505228
Camden 453659
Haringey 404710
Waltham Forest 340471
Kingston upon Thames 324559
Croydon 252515
Barking & Dagenham 200620
Bristol 198159
Medway 167439

In first place, Barnet’s most common violation is ‘no waiting’, issued to vehicles parked in a restricted area. The borough totalled 141,149 fines for this contravention. This result suggests the biggest challenge for many London drivers is finding a long-stay parking space, with many forced to park wherever they can, perhaps even without valid authority.

Interestingly, Bristol and Medway are the only areas outside the M25 to feature, taking 9th and 10th spot respectively. Bristol’s ranking could be contributed to North Somerset Council taking over controlled parking enforcement (CPE) from the police in April 2017, which saw figures soar.

Medway’s high number of fines could also be down to several significant council changes. Reports show parking profits in the area have jumped 65% since 2016, which suggests more motorists are trying to find alternative parking.

Warranty Direct research supports this, as it discovered parking in a restricted street was the most common contravention in this area.

South Norfolk is bottom of the list, publishing just 401 recorded violations over the same time period. Only 45% of fines in the area were paid in full, meaning South Norfolk council claimed just a fraction (£9,050) of the estimated £48 million retrieved by Barnet council.**

South Norfolk shares its most common violation with Barnet (no waiting), however, it only recorded a relatively minor 145 offences.

Bottom 10 areas by no. parking violations
Location No. of offences
South Norfolk 401
South Staffordshire 685
Norfolk 879
Stockton on Tees 7612
Redcar & Cleveland 7940
Lincolnshire 8156
South Gloucestershire 20824
Oxford 24741
Shropshire 31100
East Riding of Yorkshire 34046

Warranty Direct’s study also highlights the most common parking offence overall, across all boroughs:

Most common violations
Violation No. areas
Parking in a restricted street 11
No Pay & Display ticket 5
No valid permit 5
Being in a bus lane 4
Parked for longer than permitted 4

The most frequent offence is parking in a restricted street (11 areas), while parking without a valid permit for a road and parking in a carpark without a pay and display ticket are the second and third most common contraventions.

Finally, the study reveals, on average, only 64% of fines across the country were actually paid, with Camden boasting the lowest percentage at just 32%. In contrast, East Riding of Yorkshire paid the most fines, with 84% paid in full.

Commenting on the findings, Simon Ackers, CEO at Warranty Direct said:

“It’s no surprise many London Boroughs are among the worst offenders, as parking in London is notoriously tricky. However, it’s interesting to see recent changes made to parking restrictions in both Bristol and Medway have had such a significant impact on the number of fines, in a short timeframe.”

“It’s also surprising to find out such a low percentage of fines end up being paid. Perhaps when some of the original penalties are reviewed, they are considered too strict for the circumstances, as many motorists contesting them are winning their appeals.”