Code of conduct urged as number of parking tickets from private companies rises
The number of parking tickets handed out by private companies has soared, leading to support for proposed new laws to end the industry's self-regulation.
Some 1.74 million vehicle keeper records were obtained from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) by parking management firms between April and June, compared with 1.06 million in the same period last year.
Parking companies use the information to chase vehicle owners for alleged infringements in private car parks, sending penalty charges often worth up to £100.
With the data suggesting that tickets are being issued every 4.5 seconds, motoring research charity the RAC Foundation welcomed a Bill tabled by a Conservative MP to crack down on the private parking industry.
Sir Greg Knight's private members' Bill - which would lead to the introduction of a code of conduct for private car park operators - had its first reading in the House of Commons last week.
RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: "These figures are a stark illustration of why Sir Greg's Bill is so badly needed and if there is one piece of legislation which should command cross-party support it is this.
"Self-regulation of the private parking sector has not worked - even many of the big companies acknowledge that - and we are delighted Sir Greg Knight is coming to the rescue with a law that will create a single, binding code of conduct, something we have campaigned for over several years."
The surge in ticketing comes after clamping on private land was banned in 2012 and two years after the coalition government consulted on possible changes to the private parking sector.
Mr Gooding went on: "Private parking has turned into an industry worth hundreds of millions of pounds with many firms relying on enforcement as their only way of making money.
"No wonder the DVLA is now being inundated annually with many millions of requests for vehicle keeper data so drivers can be sent penalty tickets on often dubious grounds."
The DVLA charges private firms £2.50 per record, suggesting the agency earned £4.4 million from the process in the first quarter of the 2017/18 financial year.
ParkingEye Ltd obtained the largest amount of information at 570,000 records.
Smart Parking received the second most at 125,000 with Euro Car Parks in third place at 118,000.