Uncovered: The UK’s Worst Places For A Parking Fine

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Moneyshake submitted Freedom of Information requests to 40 councils to uncover where in the UK is the worst for parking fines. Our research reveals that parking penalties cost Brits £530 million in four years from 14 million fines issued by the councils we contacted.

Ever park on double yellow lines or forget your permit? Read on to discover where to watch out for with the UK’s best and worst places to get a parking ticket. Plus, find out how much money is made from your motoring mistakes and what to do if you receive an expensive fine.

Stand-out stats

  • Parking violations cost Brits an average of £132 million each year
  • Islington issues the most parking penalties, issuing over 1.1 million tickets – more than all of Northern Ireland
  • Edinburgh is the worst city for reprimanding drivers outside London, with over 850,000 fines issued
  • Kensington and Chelsea employ the most traffic wardens (108) – that’s one in seven of the borough’s population
  • Middlesbrough’s drivers are penalised the least, with only 35,000 parking fines issued

Top 10 worst places for parking fines

Our data reveals which parts of the UK are punishing the most drivers for their bad parking. Half of the top 10 ticket hotspots are in England’s capital, with a total of 3.9 million London motorists penalised in a four-year period.

Discover the top 10 worst places for a parking fine below based on the number of penalties issued.

Shockingly, the Islington borough has the most parking offenders, with 1.1 million fines issued since 2015. That’s almost double the whole of Northern Ireland, who only punished 602,796 drivers in total.

Top 10 best places for parking fines

Not all UK motorists are problematic parkers. Our study also reveals which areas issued the fewest number of tickets in the past four years. Middlesbrough takes the top spot, reprimanding only 35,326 drivers for prohibited parking in four years.

Bad parking costs Brits £530 million in penalties

An astounding £530 million was netted by the 40 councils in four years, costing Brits an average of £132 million each year for parking violations.

While Islington issued the most fines, it seems not all drivers paid up. The area that scooped the largest amount from parking penalties was Hammersmith and Fulham, which raked in a whopping £57 million in revenue. That’s £12 million more than Islington earned, suggesting motorists are either successfully appealing or not paying at all.

Beyond London, Edinburgh reaped the most income at £27 million, followed by Birmingham which earned £19 million from parking contraventions.

But which area is making the least amount from careless parkers? Middlesbrough received just £363,580 in four years, which is understandable as the North East town has the lowest level of parking offences of any council district we studied.

1,622 traffic wardens punish your parking – here’s where to watch out for them

Our data reveals that councils employ 1,622 traffic wardens (or civil enforcement officers) across 40 areas. We found that Londoners should watch out, especially if you’re driving in the Kensington and Chelsea area, which hires a huge 108 wardens to enforce parking laws. That’s one officer for every seven members of the borough’s population.

Hackney isn’t far behind with 89 officers employed, followed by 80 working in Hammersmith and Fulham.

Elsewhere, motorists in Birmingham and Brighton should pay attention to their parking, as both employ 96 traffic wardens to reprimand drivers.

Though you’re less likely to get landed with a ticket in Wigan, as the town only has eight officers, as well as Middlesbrough and Peterborough which each employ 10.

How you can avoid a parking ticket

A parking fine distributed by the council is also called a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). Drivers are charged at different rates, usually either £50 or £70 depending on the level of the PCN.

You can be slapped with a PCN for 96 parking contraventions – and not just the obvious ones like overstaying in a public car park. You could even be fined if the parking meter is out of order, under certain circumstances.

If you want to avoid a ticket, here are some examples of what to avoid when parking your car.

Higher level PCNs (£70)

  • Parked in a restricted street during prescribed hours
  • Parked in a part of a parking place marked by a yellow line
  • Parked in a loading place or bay during restricted hours without loading
  • Parked in a restricted area, like a taxi rank or outside a school
  • Parked in an electric vehicles’ place during restricted hours without charging

Lower level PCNs (£50)

  • Parked at an out-of-order meter during controlled hours
  • Parked after the expiry of paid for time
  • Re-parked in the same place or zone within one hour after leaving
  • Not parked correctly within the markings of a bay or space
  • Parked in a car park when closed

More driving offences you need to avoid

It’s not just poor parking that you need to look out for. Drivers can be hit with a PCN for breaking other traffic rules too.

  • Failing to comply with a one-way restriction
  • Entering and stopping in a box junction when prohibited
  • Being in a bus lane
  • Failing to give way to oncoming vehicles
  • Performing a prohibited turn

What to do if you get a parking ticket?

If you receive a PCN, you normally need to pay the fine within 28 days. It’s usually cheaper if you pay within 14 days. Don’t try to avoid paying up if you know you’re in the wrong – councils do take drivers to court over unpaid tickets. The fine will cost you a lot more if you’re prosecuted.

Parking tickets could cost 55 times more if you don’t pay – increasing to £1,398

A PCN could be 55 times more expensive if you don’t pay on time, going up to £1,368 for a lower level ticket or £1,398 for a higher level offence if bailiffs are sent to your door.

Here’s how much poor parking could cost you if you try to dodge a fine.

Time Paid Lower Level PCN Higher Level PCN
Within 14 days £25 £35
Within 28 days £50 £70
Within 42 days £75 £105
Over 42 days £83 £113
With bailiff enforcement £1,368 £1,398

Previously some drivers have thought they could get out of a ticket by ignoring the notice, but that’s not true. Councils will demand payment and you could end up with a County Court Judgement (CCJ) as well as being hugely out of pocket. However, if you think the fine is unfair, you can challenge it.

How to appeal a parking fine

To challenge a PCN, you’ll need to show evidence that your parking ticket was issued incorrectly. The council will need to see supporting documents before accepting your appeal, usually within 28 days of you receiving the fine. If your appeal is accepted, you won’t need to pay.

Here’s what you could provide as proof to fight an unfair ticket.

  • Photos to show unclear signage or no road markings
  • A witness statement from someone who saw you park correctly
  • A copy of a valid pay and display ticket
  • Evidence of exceptional circumstances, like a repair receipt if your car broke down

But car fines aren’t the only thing that can seriously increase in price. We’ve costed up pop culture’s most beloved cars to see how much more superfans are really paying for a piece of movie motor memorabilia. Check it out along with more car news and entertainment in the Moneyshake blog.