The DVLA have released alarming statistics, showing that automatic parking fines issued by private companies have risen dramatically following the introduction of new monitoring technology enforced in supermarkets and other car parks.
Electronic requests made to the DVLA from private parking companies for vehicle details had jumped from 272,215 in 2006/2007 to 1,167,713 in 2010/11.
This rise of 329 per cent has seen motorists hit with average parking fines of £80, and penalties such as these have cost drivers approximately £93million in 2010/11 compared with £21million in 2007.
The drastic rise in parking costs was exposed by Nick Smith, Labour MP for Blaenau Gwent, following a request to the DVLA.
Many constituents of Mr Smith had written to him, complaining about the car park attached to The Walk shopping precinct in Ebbw Vale.
“The car park had been there for years but had not been very professionally run. Lots of residents had become used to using it for free without any problem,” explained Mr Smith.
“When the car park was taken over by a new parking management company, Excel Parking Services, the complaints started to come in.
“Excel came in and began enforcing the rules very aggressively, but there was not enough improvement to the signage to let people know what was expected.”
Excel reject claims that their parking enforcement is too aggressive, stating: ”Great attention to detail is taken when specifying sign schedules for car parks managed by Excel Parking, and every effort is made to position such signs in the most prominent user friendly locations.
“We strongly refute the allegation that aggressive parking enforcement took place.”
Patrick Troy, chief executive of the British Parking Association (BPA) believes that technological advances are behind the increase as opposed to harsher enforcement.
“The technology has moved forward and it is less likely for you to see a warden strolling around a car park any more,” he explained.
“While there has been a rise in fines issued this way, it means fewer fines are being attached to windscreens.
“There are more out-of-town retailers and they are looking for ways to control their parking spaces so that they can keep their customers numbers turning over.”
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