The Government has claimed that new rules allowing local authorities to lower the cost of town centre parking are also good for the environment.
Minister Greg Clark said that high car parking charges were forcing motorists to keep on driving in an attempt to find free parking at out-of-town shopping centres.
The Government hopes that the new measures will encourage drivers, already shelling out on heftycar insurance payments, to park in town centres and drive up sales on their local high street.
"Central government has required them (councils) over the last few years to put up charges to try to force people out of their cars and on to public transport," Mr Clark told BBC Breakfast.
"But actually, one of the things that it has done... is it gets people into their cars to out-of-town shopping centres, to supermarkets with free car parks and that affects local shops. So it is neither green nor good for the economy to get people to leave their local shops, that sometimes are struggling, and to drive past them to park in a place that is free of charge."
Copyright © Press Association 2011