By Lauren Howells.

Just under six and a half million private parking tickets could be issued to drivers in only one year, new data has revealed. 

According to figures just published, in the first quarter of the 2018-2019 financial year, a total of just under 1.48 million sets of vehicle keeper recorders were requested from the DVLA by private parking companies, a 14% increase compared to the same quarter in 2017-2018.

Record number of private parking tickets could be issued this year

The RAC Foundation has estimated that if this trend continues for the rest of the year, a total of 6.44 million vehicle keeper records could be obtained by parking management companies from the DVLA in 2018-2019, up from 5.65 million in 2017-2018. 

In 2008 – 2009, only 687,000 vehicle keeper records were obtained from the DVLA by private parking firms.

The records obtained from the DVLA are used by private parking companies to pursue motorists for penalties and charges for alleged contraventions in private car parks, such as those at motorway service areas, shopping centres and leisure centres.

Private members bill has been put before parliament

Only parking companies who are members of either the British Parking Association or the International Parking Community (both accredited trade associations) are able to access DVLA records.

Number of private parking tickets issued “continues to soar”

Both bodies have their own independent appeals service and code of practice. A private members’ bill has recently been put before parliament which, if put into force, could result in a single code of practice that every parking firm who wants to request DVLA information, would have to adhere to. After passing the first and second reading and committee stage in the House of Commons, the bill is due to enter the report stage on 23 November this year.

Director of the RAC Foundation, Steve Gooding, said: “Motorists might well be asking what is going on when the number of records being sought by private parking companies has shot up yet again”. 

He added that figures like this suggested that something, somewhere, was going wrong. 

Gooding also commented that drivers would be pleased about the news that the private members’ bill had got through another stage of the parliamentary process,

“in the hope that it won’t be too long before some much-needed regulatory oversight is brought to bear on the industry”.

Biggest purchaser of data from the DVLA ParkingEye

In the first quarter of 2018-2019, the biggest purchaser of data was ParkingEye, with 388,061 sets of vehicle keeper records.

Euro Car Parks came in second place, with 125,322, followed by Smart Parking in third, with 114,217 records purchased.

Last month, Capita PLC agreed to sell ParkingEye to Macquarie for £235 million, more than quadruple the £58 million that Capita PLC paid for ParkingEye back in 2013.