Firms access 2.7 million vehicle keeper records in just three months
Private parking companies have bought a record number of vehicle keeper records from the DVLA to use to issue parking charge notices – penalties – to drivers.
Official data shows that in the first quarter of 2022-23, car park management companies accessed 2.7 million records, a new high.
The number of records bought by the companies – around 176 in total – is a proxy for the number of penalties they dish out.
ParkingEye was the biggest purchaser, buying 521,000 records in the quarter, at £2.50 each.
It puts the firms on course to issue close to 11 million penalties – of up to £100 each – over the course of the financial year for supposed parking infringements on private land.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:
“For all the concerns about the state of the economy there is one sector that is booming: private car park management.
“Over the past decade the number of tickets being issued to drivers on private land has jumped from less than two million annually to probably near 11 million this year.
“This is big business which is seeing more entrants all the time.
“The attraction can only be one thing – the chance to make significant profits before the government brings in changes – which now appear delayed – to level the playing field.
“It remains inconceivable that, annually, millions of motorists are setting out to run up these tickets of up to £100 each, especially when household budgets are so tight.
“This latest data is a sign of a system that is broken. We hope the new ministerial team in charge of this part of public policy will tackle it with renewed vigour.”
In March 2019 the Parking (Code of Practice) Act – introduced by Sir Greg Knight MP as a private members’ bill – became law and paved the way for a single, ministerially-sanctioned code of practice for the industry. However, the code is still to be finalised and ministers will consult on it again in early 2023. Alongside the code, government wants to establish an independent appeals service and scrutiny board.
Wheel clamping on private land was all but outlawed by the 2012 Protection of Freedoms Act, however that legislation allowed parking companies to go after the registered keepers of vehicles supposedly breaking parking regulations on private land without having to prove who the driver was.
Since 2012 there has been an explosion of ticketing, with the number of keeper records bought by the industry rising from 1.9 million in 2012-13 to a high of 8.4 million in 2019-20. This year, 2022-23, the number could be close to 11 million of the trend seen in the first quarter continues.
Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation
[email protected] | 07711 776448
Notes to editors:
The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation that explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users.
The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist. All the Foundation’s work is available at: www.racfoundation.org
The Foundation is a registered charity.