Record number of drivers hit by private parking charges - and the government is reaping the rewards

Record number of drivers hit by private parking charges - and the government is reaping the rewards
More and more motorists are getting stung with charges after being fined for parking on private land, figures from the RAC Foundation suggest.

Private land parking offences result in Parking Charge Notices as opposed to the standard local-authority issued Penalty Charge Notice or parking tickets you might be more used to receiving, however, the government still stands to gain in excess of £10 million from them.

Research from the motoring charity found that an unprecedented number of vehicle owner records were issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in the first three months of 2016.

According to the data, some 1.07 million records were sent out to private parking companies in this time, with the firms using the information to send Parking Charge Notices to drivers.

READ MORE: How to avoid and appeal Parking Charge Notices

Based on the fact that the DVLA charges £2.50 for providing each record, the Government could be on track to make as much as £10 million from the enterprise this year.

This is based on estimates suggesting that the rest of the year will follow the pattern set over the first three months and see around four million records sold by the DVLA.

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If the figures go on to meet this projection, 2016 will see a huge rise on the 272,000 vehicle records provided by the DVLA a decade ago.

And it is also an increase on the 3.7 million individual records given out by the DVLA last year, the RAC Foundation figures indicate.

Despite there being no limit on how much a private parking charge can be, guidelines from trade body the British Parking Association suggest it should not exceed £100.

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If this figure is used, it means that drivers may be paying out around £400m in penalties each year.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, questioned how legitimate the parking penalties are.

He said: “The BPA’s own code of practice calls for a ten-minute grace period after paid-for and time-limited free parking expires, so is the industry really saying that four million drivers a year are even later getting back to their vehicle? Fifteen times more than just 10 years ago? It beggars belief.”

Commenting on the figures, the DVLA said the money it charges to provide the vehicle records is to cover administration costs, adding that it does not make a profit from the sale of the data.

A spokesperson said: “We take our responsibility to protect information extremely seriously and we have robust safeguards in place to ensure data is used correctly.”

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.

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