Britain runs out of parking spaces

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The Independent Online

Britain is set to run out of parking spaces within the next five years unless radical steps are taken to solve the growing shortage, according to a report from one of the country's leading motoring organisations.

The RAC Foundation predicts that attacks on parking wardens will escalate as traffic continues to rise.

In some parts of the country, traffic wardens have started to wear body armour to protect themselves.

Territorial battles over parking slots have become a feature of residential life, with the number of cars exceeding official spaces in some areas.

A survey commissioned by the foundation reveals that nearly a third of motorists are already abandoning their journeys because they cannot find anywhere to park.

The NOP survey suggests that the issue is affecting a growing range of important personal decisions, with a third of those questioned saying that they would prefer to move home rather than give up their local parking space.

The RAC Foundation recommends a number of strategies to deal with the problem, including storing cars in underground silos, introducing parking payments using mobile phone technology and the use of microwave technology allowing drivers to book spaces in advance.

Edmund King, the executive director of the RAC Foundation, said: "Restricting parking does not curb car ownership. We believe that within five years the situation will reach a crisis point with a doubling in the number of motorists abandoning their journeys unless action is taken."

The number of car owners is expected to rise by 45 per cent by the year 2030.

Motorists are resorting to extreme measuresto accommodate their cars. The NOP survey, based on interviews with 500 drivers across the country, found that more than half would consider converting their garden into a parking area if they had no access to residential parking - although thistactic is already banned by town planners in many urban areas.

In one incident highlighted in the report, a motorist in Bournemouth returned to her car to find double yellow lines had been painted either side of her car and a ticket on her windscreen.