The UK places where you're most likely to get a parking fine
Heading back to your car, you spot that yellow slip on your windscreen, a moment of frustration comes over you like a wave. Whether you were popping into a shop and thought you could get away with a few minutes double parked, didn’t realise there were parking restrictions in place or had no other choice then to park your car illegally, thousands of Brits all over the UK have to pay parking fines each year.
So where in the UK are you most likely to receive a parking fine? Able Systems has carried out research into the cities and areas where councils have handed out the most parking tickets in 2019.
The Top 10
Edinburgh came out on top – with Edinburgh City Council issuing 191,479 tickets throughout 2019 – a total worth of £11,488,740 in fines. The city's worst offending street for tickets was George Street, in the New Town area of the city. This wasn’t Edinburgh’s highest yearly total to date though – in 2017, 191,563 were handed out to drivers in the city.
Birmingham ranked as the worst offending English city. Birmingham City Council parking attendants were kept busy in 2019 – handing out 145,910 parking fines.
Surprisingly high on the list in fourth place is Brighton. A city with a population of just over 200,000 – in comparison with the size of other UK cities, it’s council popped 122,098 tickets under windscreen wipers – maybe holiday makers are too relaxed to think about parking violations?
What about London?
Our research into parking fines also broke down the boroughs of London to reveal the worst offending borough for violations.
- City of Westminster
- Kensington and Chelsea
- City of London
Islington is London’s worst offending borough for parking fines and since 2017 it has been battling with the City of Westminster for that title. In 2019, Islington issued 295,669 parking tickets were issued for offences – meaning it is also officially the UK’s worst offending area.
The City of Westminster came second in 2019, but it did top the list in 2018 with 261,223 fines. Newham, Haringey and Ealing make up the rest of the top five London Boroughs for fines issued in 2019.
If you’re looking to park in a London Borough where you’re least likely to receive a fine, your best bets are Bexley and Merton, where less than 25 per cent of the total tickets issued in Islington, were written up.
Commenting on the research, Mike Houghton, commercial manager at Able said;
“Our research identified the towns and cities, and even the streets, in the UK that appear to have the biggest issues with illegal parking. Many of the roads which receive the most tickets tend to consistently do so over a number of years – which indicates where councils may focus future efforts to reduce problem parking.
“Surprisingly there are a number of vehicles in the UK that have been hit with more than 100 tickets in a 12-month period – with a motorist in Reading receiving 205 tickets, a driver in Liverpool racking up 149 and another in Birmingham with 132.”
What you need to know about parking fines
Laura Newton, solicitor and partner at law firm Smith Bowyer Clarke, based in Derby, specialises in Road Transport Law and Motoring Law. She explains why people might take a risk when parking their vehicle and what you should do when receiving a parking fine:
Why do people choose to risk paying a fine?
“There are actually some logical reasons why people are willing to risk paying parking fines. In larger cities, parking in an area where you may get fined, may for some, work out cheaper than commuting and finding a space in a potentially expensive inner-city car park. You may find some drivers are willing to take the financial hit of a fine as it actually saves them money than obeying the law.
“There’s also misguided logic that some councils won’t have wardens on patrol at certain times of the day or week, like late in the evening. This isn’t the case. If councils know there are problem streets at particular times, they will ensure traffic wardens are patrolling those areas – so you should never hope for the best.
What should you do if you receive a parking fine?
“Never ignore a parking fine if you receive one. Councils are open to communicating with you, and, if they apply, will consider discretionary reasons or circumstances, so it is always best to engage with the council that has issued you a fine. Hoping the fine will automatically go away will only make the situation worse.
“If you do ignore it, it can become enforced by the courts, which will affect your credit rating. You will also end up with a debt multiple times higher than the cost the original ticket.
“The costs of contesting a penalty through Court is off putting for many motorists who concede and make payment once Court papers arrive.
“You can contest the fine if you believe you have a genuinely valid reason to do so, but most importantly, you should never ignore it.”
We contacted the UK towns and cities with the highest population, carrying out freedom of information requests. The data included in the above graphics was supplied by each corresponding council. The data includes parking fines issued in 2019 or the most recent 12 month period. It excludes 2020 – due to lockdown restrictions introduced throughout 2020 the data is skewed when compared with previous years. Some councils track tickets on a financial year basis, e.g. from 1 April 2018 to 30 March 2019. We have marked these cities on the graphic. Any London Boroughs that are greyed out did not respond to our FOI requests.