Press Release

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Mistletoe and FINE: The cities where shoppers are most likely to get parking tickets this Christmas

  • Christmas shoppers are least likely to be fined in Belfast, only 0.09% of residents were fined over the festivities last year
  • London hands out the more fines than any other city in the UK and at the highest cost
  • More than 18.7 million Brits plan on driving to shops to get their Christmas shopping
  • 9, December, 2020, LONDON –

    With more than 18.7 million Brits (36%) planning to drive to the shops this Christmas, the shopping comparison site,, commissioned a freedom of information request to find the cities where people are most, and least, likely to get a parking fine in December.

    It is good news for those planning to do some Christmas shopping in Belfast, as this is the city where you’re least likely to get a ticket. There were only 317 fines administered last December, meaning that 0.09% of their population received a fine. This is around 18 times lower than the UK average, although the average ticket issued was priced at £90, making Belfast the second most expensive city to be fined in.

    The second best city for Christmas parking is Sheffield, with 0.65% of residents being fined (3,800), while Sunderland follows with 0.76% (2,100) of locals receiving a ticket. This means the odds of getting a ticket in these cities is less than half the UK average.

    The FOI was sent to the councils of the UK’s 20 most populated cities (plus all London boroughs) and received a reply from 83% of them. Across the study, the average percentage of the population who got a fine last year was 1.64%.

    Londoners are most likely to get a fine when doing their Christmas shopping with 304,000 parking fines being issued in December 2019. This represents a whopping 5% of the capital’s population and means Londoners are over 3 times more likely to get a parking fine than the national average. It also means that the odds of getting a ticket in Londonis 54 times higher than in Belfast. Just to make matters worse, a fine will cost £94.50 on average when issued, making London the most expensive city for parking fines.

    The second worst place for parking tickets is Nottingham, with 4% of the population receiving fines over the festive period last year. 11,800 tickets were issued by the council, meaning locals were over twice as likely to get one compared to the UK average. It isn’t all bad news for Nottingham residents though, as the average fine amount of £15.02 was the second lowest in the study.

    Edinburgh comes in third place for the likelihood of getting a parking fine with 3% (14,300) of their residents receiving a ticket during the festivities last year.

    Of the cities analysed over 399,000 parking fines were issued in the lead up to Christmas in 2019, meaning that £33.5 million of parking charges were issued last December, while the average ticket price came out at £54. The city with the cheapest fines last year was Cardiff, with a ticket only costing locals an average of £6.63.

    To see the research in full visit:

    Methodology: commissioned a freedom of information (FOI) request to city councils on 28 October 2020, the cities chosen were the top 20 most populated cities in the UK in addition to all the London Boroughs. The data for London was found by combining the data from the Boroughs that responded. Of all the requests made 83% responded. obtained the number of fines issued by each council between December 1 to 24 2020 as well as the total monetary amount of fines at the point of issue. The number of fines was then compared with their population.

    Additionally, commissioned Savanta on 25 to 27 November 2020 to carry out a nationally representative survey of adults aged 18+. A total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.


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