Shropshire Star

Drivers using council car parks hit by 22% hike in fees over two years – report

Churchill Motor Insurance said the average hourly fee for using council car parks at night has risen from £1 in 2022 to £1.22 this year.

A sign in a car park saying Have you paid and displayed?

Drivers using council-run car parks at night have been hit by a 22% hike in average rates in two years, according to new analysis.

People using the car parks in the evenings have seen the typical hourly fee increase from £1 in 2022 to £1.22 this year, figures obtained by Churchill Motor Insurance suggest.

Average daytime hourly rates have increased by 11% over the same period, from £1.15 to £1.29.

Sandwell Council in the West Midlands is responsible for the biggest price rise in percentage terms recorded by researchers, its average rate more than doubling from 40p to 98p.

They are followed by Renfrewshire Council in Scotland (from 60p to £1.25) and Oldham Council in north-west England (from 88p to £1.66).

Average overnight hourly rates for council-run car parks have soared by 45% since 2022, from £1.10 to £1.59.

Councils which have introduced overnight parking charges since 2022 have set hourly rates at an average of £2.90.

Churchill issued a Freedom of Information request to 398 British councils in March.

The analysis uses average rates per car park based on responses from the 138 councils which provided usable data.

Head of Churchill Motor Insurance Nicholas Mantel said: “We know that increased parking charges aren’t all about raising money for councils.

“Often, they are also put in place as a traffic management measure, encouraging people to use alternative transport options.

“With that in mind, no matter their location, drivers should check parking charges in advance of any journey and look to see where they might be able to find a cheaper rate.”

Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, said: “Parking charges are a tool for managing congestion, not for shoring up local authority budgets.

“Money might be tight for town and city halls but the same could be said for drivers and businesses too.

“That said, in 2022/23 councils in England made a combined profit from parking of more than £900 million, though the totals vary hugely from authority to authority.

“Some authorities seem to be more enthusiastic than others about managing parking in a way that attracts people whose patronage is key to supporting the local economy, during the day and into the evening.”

Claire Holland, transport spokeswoman for the Local Government Association, which represents councils, said: “Parking services exist to cope with parking demand and help ensure that vehicle owners get to park easily and without causing inconvenience to others.

“When setting parking charges, councils will take local circumstances into account, including the impact on business, residents, visitors, other road users and modes of travel, as well as rising operational costs of providing parking services.”

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