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 45.

    With 31 million cars in the country, a little bit of encouragement to use alternatives is no bad thing. If you chose to drive, it costs around 60p per mile to drive to a car park, so are you really going to be put off by a modest parking charge? More wardens = more employment, is that a bad thing? If you object to paying and with obesity at 25% a slightly longer waddle to the shops won't harm.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    Our local high street has been ruined by the council. Pavements widened hugely (causing a bottle neck in a main route into the city), greenways and no parking anywhere has resulted in a street full of charity shops and looks very run down.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    Sadly I don't find this surprising, it's easier for councils to fine people to raise money than to actually make the efficiancy savings that are actually required.

    Enfield also has a blanket £80 fine for dropping litter including cigarette butts, whilst people shouldn't drop littler, it is irking that this is more than many people get fined for far more serious crimes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    What's the difference between Shopping centres and Town centres?


    Councils are riddled with political dogma and extremely bad for business

    They have no incentive to change either because councils receive income from a captive population over which the council has absolute power

    The clergy used exactly the same system

    It's a system which encourages apathy and discourages innovation

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Make parking more difficult and expensive - and watch the High Street die.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    My local council (Stockport) asked shop owners how to increase trade on the High Street and they all said "scrap parking charges" so the council ignored them.
    Is it any wonder I use the supermarket or go to the next town (Hyde) which has free parking after 3pm ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    I only brave my nearest city (Edinburgh) if taking the children to the hospital. The parking attendants are on top of you before you can get out to the ticket machine. I have not shopped there for over 5 years now. I will not give the extortionists my money and I'm sure many feel this way. Tough on the shop keepers I know but who voted the council in in the first place.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    In other news. Government drafts in experts to find out why people choose to shop in out of town shopping parks rather than town centres. More to follow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Supermarkets could raise a fortune charging for parking. They don't. The reason for which is completely lost on council staff .

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    'Some 18% of drivers revealed they had parked illegally in the last year'
    '10% of drivers have received parking fines over the last 12 months'

    Seems to me the fines are deserved and there's still 8% getting away with bad parking. Simple solution, park responsibly and you won't get fined.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    Scummy councils really are trying to squeeze every last drop of money out of us. Check out the Edinburgh bus lane camera fiasco for example - disgraceful.

  • Comment number 34.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Even retail parks have time limits on them despite being virtually empty. Had to leave yesterday as by the time we got to the last store to look at buying a camera the time was up so we left without making a purchase. Got home and bought the item online instead. A sure way of doing local businesses out of trade.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Since 2008 responsibility for traffic wardens has passed from the police to Councils? So one would expect Councils to employ more people managing parking - and the Police to employ fewer.

    Scary that the Minister does not seem to know this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    Hammering the poor motorist is easy money for councils.
    The mafia would be proud of you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    They shouldn't do this excessively as it discourages people from shopping in those towns, resulting in shops closing down due to not making much business which in return may lead to councils not getting enough revenues from businesses. To avoid this vicious cycle, councils can, for example, allow people to park free for the first hour for shopping purposes in designated areas.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Nobody 'needs' a car. Catch a bus,stop moaning.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    The councils have to make their money somehow. They don't get it through this ConDem goverment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Prosecute obstructive on street parking in town by all means but balance that with free parking in designated car parks. Such a policy might just - just tempt me away from out of town commercial centres where I can park for free. Until town councils wake up to the fact that their greed in milking the motorist is killing their town centres I shall never shop in town.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Continuting from comment 10. Character limit didn’t allow me to continue, but come on. Am I wrong? If parking is free 24/7, everybody in the area pays for it. If it's not free, only people that use it have to pay for it, and it takes the pressure off the local council’s tax income which can then be used elsewhere. It seems quite fair to me.


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