Local councils handed out an increased number of parking tickets last year despite cutting back on traffic wardens.
There were a total of 6.8 million tickets issued in 2011 – one every 4.6 seconds – according to figures out today. Money raised totalled more than £234m, according to figures obtained by insurance company swiftcover.com, following a Freedom of Information request.
One in four tickets was disputed, with those appealing having a 39 per cent success rate. The number of wardens or civil enforcement officers fell from 3,882 in 2010 to 3,693 in 2011. Outside the capital, the largest number of fines handed out last year was by Liverpool (more than 146,000) ahead of Manchester (more than 138,000) and Birmingham (nearly 133,000). On average, 74,257 fines were handed out by each local council last year, compared with 72,367 in 2010. The busiest wardens were in Liverpool, handing out an average of 2,616 parking fines each in 2011, followed by those in Coventry (2,220) and Worcester (2,125), which compared to just 296 fines per officer in 2011 in Sunderland.
As a result of the higher numbers of fines, there was also an increase in disputes by motorists. In 2010, 1,677,043 parking ticket disputes were lodged with local councils and Transport for London, while in 2011, the figure rose to 1,758,571 - or 146,547 each month. However, the success rate of these challenges fell from 47 per cent (780,710 tickets overturned) in 2010 to 39 per cent (683,218 tickets overturned) in 2011.
Success rates in disputed cases vary dramatically by local council, from as little as 11 per cent in the City of Bradford, to 72 per cent in Chichester in West Sussex.