Parking attendants 'on the rise' across UK

Parking attendants Data was provided by more than 200 UK councils

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The number of parking attendants hired by councils has risen by nearly 6% since 2008, figures have suggested.

During the same period, 17% of councils reduced free parking, according to UK-wide data sourced by LV car insurance.

It comes as local authorities make significant budget and job cuts.

Local Government Minister Bob Neill said there was "no excuse" for using motorists as "cash cows", but a body representing some UK councils said regulating parking was "essential".

Data provided by more than 200 UK councils as part of a Freedom of Information request, suggested a 5.8% jump in the number of parking attendants, with numbers increasing from 3,630 to 3,841 between 2008 and 2012.

Some 10% of councils have increased the number of on-duty parking attendants by at least 20%, it suggested.

Average council areas now have some 16 parking attendants enforcing traffic, parking and other laws, while London boroughs have 51, the data also showed.

And 10% of drivers have received parking fines over the last 12 months, with those hit paying out £340 - about £96 per offending driver.

'Cash cows'

Of the councils that provided information, Westminster hired the most parking attendants with 242, while Islington in north London had 135, followed by Edinburgh with 121, and Lambeth in south London with 99.

Meanwhile, 57% of drivers said parking in their nearest town was more difficult now than in 2008, with 7% thinking it was easier, according to another LV survey of 1,583 motorists.

Start Quote

We want to see councils use parking to support the High Street and help their local shops prosper”

End Quote Bob Neill Local Government Minister

Some 18% of drivers revealed they had parked illegally in the last year.

Local Government Minister Bob Neill said: "There are plenty of other ways for councils to raise extra income or make savings like better procurement and sharing back-office services.

"We want to see councils use parking to support the High Street and help their local shops prosper.

"That's why we have ended the last government's requirements to limit spaces, push up parking charges and encourage aggressive parking enforcement."

But the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils in England and Wales, said good management of parking was vital.

"Regulating parking is essential to keep traffic flowing, pedestrians and motorists safe, roads clear for emergency services and business deliveries, deterring drivers from blocking roads and pavements, and ensuring people can park near their homes or local shops," said Tony Ball, vice-chairman of the LGA's economy and transport board.

"With the number of cars on our roads increasing, it's more crucial than ever that on-street parking is properly managed."

'Cash-strapped motorists'

He also said that towns and city centres no longer had the space to "keep creating more parking spaces".

"Councils have worked hard to improve public transport and cycling provision to encourage more people to leave their car at home unless driving is essential," said Mr Ball.

"Any revenue raised from parking management must be spent on transport services such as filling potholes, bus passes for the elderly, park and ride schemes, street lights, parking services and road improvement projects, things which will benefit all road users at some point."

John O'Roarke, managing director at LV, said the lack of free parking in council areas was "putting increasing pressure on cash-strapped motorists", with many "resorting to parking illegally".

"This problem is being exacerbated as councils increase the number of paid parking zones in their areas and take on more parking attendants to police them," said Mr O'Roarke.

He also advised drivers visiting busy areas to plan ahead and "consider parking slightly further away to avoid high parking charges".

"Many cities now offer park-and-ride schemes, which are a fraction of the cost of inner city parking," he said.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    Traffic wardens are needed, many of the comments here are from people who have been caught not paying for parking.
    some people would drive their cars up stairs and into toilet cubicles if you let them. anything so long as they don't have to walk six inches more.
    More traffic wardens please

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    #103 A perfect example. I have the opposite problem... lines have worn away to the point where you can't see where 'free parking for 2 hours' stops and 'residents parking' starts. Weirdly it seems totally acceptable for a local landlord to leave a skip in the parking areas for weeks at a time (without a permit... ) too because you can't ticket a skip.

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    i live in a one way street and my local council painted double yellow lines 20 foot up from the junction, only to then tell us residents than they had overpainted (really??) and had done the street in error....needless to say, they haven't come back to cover them but residents are still getting booked !!!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    #99 I shouldn't need to go to specsavers. When you have nonsense like my street where the left hand side is free parking and the right hand side (expect for the 2 spaces nearest the main road) require a residents permit (unless you have a blue badge) its fair criticism to say the regulations are confusing. I got ticketed for parking on my own drive! (overturned at appeal rapidly )

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    I hardly ever shop in town now because of parking difficulties and the high costs - I shop online whenever possible because delivery costs are often less than the combined costs of parking and petrol or use out of town centres where parking is easy and free. I'm sure I'm not alone - this must be crippling the high street shops

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    We should do away with 90% of parking restrictions, only keeping restrictions at junctions, for road safety reasons. With free parking, you encourage people to visit shops, businesses and parks in the area, by day and night, and bring benefits way beyond the cash rewards of stealing from drivers using wardens. Or perhaps it is the end of the road for cities. Have they become unliveable?

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    #95 Peter_Sym

    Try going to SpecSavers!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    #91 You describe current political reality well, I can only agree. What I was suggesting is motorists organising themselves into a unified lobby group. Motorists pay a huge amount in tax, rip-off insurance, road tolls, and dubious parking fines, their own independent candidates would only have to recoup a fraction of that money to significantly fulfil election pledges.

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    Parking wardens and parking fees = decimated town centre and bankrupt businesses. How short sighted can you get. I gave up shopping in town centres years ago.

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    This is good news so long as they are used in town/city centres. Poor selfish parking on red routes and busy streets costs time & money and is extremely annoying.

    However I fear they will be used to over-police residential parking zones in quieter suburban areas. It's what my council does and it's pathetic.

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    #92 My point is that often you DON'T know you're parking illegally. There are strict rules about enforcing speed limits (like big red 30mph signs). With parking there might be an A5 sign halfway down the street with confusing instructions about whats permitted when. Add in private companies being allowed to ticket/clamp on "private" land (hospitals, shopping centres) and its anything but clear.

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    Why if we live in a democracy is it the case that there is no public consultation on parking fees. It is the public that fund the council and the council to obey the wishes of the people they serve who pay their wages and their ring fenced pensions. Oh yes forgot they class themselves as an authority so they can so what they want...

  • Comment number 93.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.


    You have misunderstood my comment #87. The point I was making was that we all know the penalties likely to be imposed for activities such as speeding or illegal parking - whether it is a criminal or civil matter is irrelevant! Neither is compulsory and if a motorist freely chooses to speed or park illegally, I have little sympathy when the widely-known consequences come their way!

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    #90 Half-good thinking. You can't vote out a councillor. You can only vote in an alternative candidate. The problem is that ALL parties realise what a great source of income motorists are. The second problem is that there's no way of making a politician keep their election promises once they're in. They can promise to slash tax when they want your vote but do they do it once they win? Like hell.

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    The time is ripe for a democratic rebellion by motorists. With only a little over 30% of people actually voting for councillors, it wouldn't take much for 40 or 50% of motorists to vote out every councillor and limit use of traffic wardens. The same goes for MPs and their fuel tax. Motorists are a very strong lobby group, they just need to get representation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    #87 Not the same thing at all. Speeding is a criminal offence which has to be proven to 'beyond reasonable doubt'. Parking tickets are a civil matter with civil standards of proof (and ironically the same level of fine). I was fined for allegedly parking 10 minutes before a bus lane became a parking lane. My watch said 10.01, his 9.52. That would never be enough for a criminal prosecution

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    Well I'm glad to see more wardens, they are not a problem for those of us who pay for parking.
    Usually its people who have been caught not paying that seem to think its wrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    I agree that many parking wardens are a bunch of vultures who definitely need a few lessons in exercising discretion! However, illegal parking (like speeding) is not a compulsory activity for motorists - it is generally a choice people freely make ... and if you choose to park illegally, you run a risk and should be prepared to face the consequences (which are well known to all) if you are caught!

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    10 years ago I got a £40 parking ticket in a town centre car park as I was 15 minutes over the 3 hours I had paid for.

    I paid the fine but have never been back again.

    This is short term thinking from councils who will do anything except spend less.


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