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No day of rest for parking wardens

Statistics released after a Freedom of Information request have revealed that British motorists are now forking out more than £30 million in parking fines every month. This is up 4% on last year but the biggest rise is on Sundays where the rise is an unlucky for some 13%. The deluge of parking fines equates to 1,200 tickets being issued every hour. London motorists are hardest hit, with wardens in the City of Westminster handing out 1,269 parking tickets on an average day.

Statistics released after a Freedom of Information request have revealed that British motorists are now forking out more than £30 million in parking fines every month. This is up 4% on last year but the biggest rise is on Sundays where the rise is an unlucky for some 13%. The deluge of parking fines equates to 1,200 tickets being issued every hour. London motorists are hardest hit, with wardens in the City of Westminster handing out 1,269 parking tickets on an average day. This compares with 339 per day in Birmingham and 271 in Bristol. Fed up motorists in the capital might consider moving to the north east of Scotland, where restrained wardens in Moray issue a total of just one ticket per day.

The statistics were revealed by insurance firm LV= who added that most drivers were being caught out by leaving their car too long in a parking space. The second biggest cause was parking where or when the motorists did not think that they needed a ticket. Edmund King, president of the AA, has asked the government to intervene, accusing the councils of being focused purely on revenue raising, rather than on controlling traffic. He commented: "We need Ministers to save our Sundays. Traditionally Sunday, was a day or rest, the only day when you got free parking, but gradually local authorities have been clawing back that freedom. Money is going from the collection plate in church into the coffers of the council. They will say Sundays have become a shopping day like any other but some have restrictions in place before the shops even open, the only people they're hitting are people heading to church. It's not about congestion; it's nothing more than revenue raising. We need Ministers to take action and save our Sundays."

It seems that motorists are being hit by confusing rule changes between different councils or even from street to street. One council may allow free Sunday parking but another, only a few miles away, will fine you. Single councils have also changed the rules between adjacent streets, with parking regulations varying so widely that motorists have difficulty telling where it is safe to park their cars. Many motorists decide against challenging dubious parking tickets because of the rule that says they will lose the 50% 'discount' for early payment. The average fine was £42 with the maximum in the capital being £100 and £70 outside London. The AA has demanded more clarity in parking signage.

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