The London borough of Newham has been described as the “parking fine capital of the UK” after research showed it charged motorists more than £10.6m in a year for breaking rules.
The east London council issued 239,000 parking fines between August 2019 and July 2020, according to data collected through freedom of information requests by Comparethemarket.
The comparison website analysed responses from 204 councils around the UK. It found Newham had issued the most fines and collected the most money, with the borough’s Browning Road the location where most offences occurred.
London councils made up nine of the top 10, with Haringey in north London in close second collecting £9.9m over the same period.
Penalty charges in London are set by a group called London Councils and start at £60 for areas in band B and £80 in band A for minor offences such as over-staying in pay-and-display bay.
For more serious breaches, such as parking on double yellow lines, the band B charge is £110 and the band A charge is £130. There is usually a 50% discount for quick payment.
Haringey had issued fewer notices than Newham, at 137,415, but collected more on average for each one, either because more were for the higher charge or because more drivers paid up during the period. Tottenham High Road was the location where it gave out most penalty notices.
Outside of London, the City of Glasgow and Birmingham city council received the most from parking fines over the year, at £5.5m and £4m respectively. Glasgow fines drivers up to £60 for parking offences, while Birmingham has charges of up to £70.
Over the year, Comparethemarket said councils had issued an average of 23,000 parking fines each.
Some councils lifted restrictions during the first lockdown, but many are still applying them during the current lockdown.
Dan Hutson, head of motor at Comparethemarket, said parking fines were a “cash cow for many local authorities”.
He said: “Up and down the country drivers are regularly being caught out by tight parking restrictions. With the third lockdown now in place, we would encourage drivers to take extra care and attention when parking up their car to ensure they avoid a parking fine.”
David Renard, transport spokesperson for the Local Government Association, said councils needed to keep traffic moving and deal with dangerous obstructions, as well as ensuring there were parking slots available.
“With an increase of 10m cars on the road in the last 20 years this has become increasingly challenging for councils,” he said.
“Income raised through on-street parking charges and parking fines is spent on running parking services. Any surplus is spent on essential transport projects, including fixing potholes and tackling congestion, but it would take more than a decade and £10bn to tackle our current roads repair backlog.”