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Christmas parking fines: Which UK city issues the most tickets?
How to avoid a parking ticket this Christmas
The most wonderful time of the year is often the most expensive, but our studies show that the festive costs eating into your pocket are less to do with Christmas gifts and more to do with your car. Our analysis of parking fines issued across the UK has revealed the cities out to
sleigh slay with the most penalties issued in the country. Our research focuses on the UK’s most populated cities and is made up of the received responses from 83% of freedom of information (FOI) enquiries.
Which city hands out the most parking fines?
London tops the list, with over 5% of the city’s population being issued a ticket during the festive period. Edinburgh follows closely at 2.73%. Manchester, Glasgow and Stoke-on-Trent take out the next three spots, at 1.97%, 1.72% and 1.46% respectively.
Belfast and Sheffield round off the list with their much more lenient measures. Last year, just 0.09% of Belfast were fined for their parking, while only 0.65% of Sheffield had their winter festivities topped with a ticket.
The particularly low ratio between population number and parking fines issued makes Belfast an ideal spot for shoppers who plan to drive in December. With a population of 343,542 (as of 2019), the Northern Ireland capital only handed out 317 parking fines in the run-up to Christmas last year. Sheffield was similarly as forgiving, handing out just 3,816 parking fines within a population of 584,853.
Rounding off the five best places to shop via car are Sunderland, Birmingham and Coventry. 0.76% of Sunderland shoppers were fined last year, while 0.82% of the Birmingham population were handed a ticket. Coventry sits just above with 0.98% of shoppers fined for parking.
Which city has the most expensive ticket prices?
London and Belfast are in close range at the top of the list, with respective costs of £95 and £90 per fine on average. And while Birmingham shoppers may not be issued the most parking fines in the country, it’s certainly a costly expense, as parking fines are just over £63. Cardiff sits at the other end of the spectrum, with the lowest average charge of almost £7 in our sample.
|City||Number of fines||Total value of fines issued||Average fine cost|
How are Brits travelling to do their Christmas shopping this year?
With the recently lifted lockdown and not long to go until Christmas day, cities like London, Birmingham and many others will see residents flock to the shops in preparation. According to our survey results, 65% of Brits will be doing their Christmas shopping in person, with 36% opting to travel by car.
|By car||By public transport||By walking||Online shopping||Don't plan on shopping|
Those aged 65+ are among the majority who would prefer to drive for their Christmas shopping this year, while those aged 16-24 would be least likely to take a car.
The pandemic has encouraged some to seek other methods of shopping to avoid physically being outside, as almost 25% of those surveyed said they would be shopping online this December. Online retail has seen an understandable surge thanks to the pandemic, with retailers based solely online seeing a 45% rise in customer spending from February to October.
A closer look at London
For Londoners driving to the shops this Christmas, evading a parking fine may be a difficult task. The city tops our lists for both average parking fine cost and the number of parking fines issued – but how do the numbers look by borough?
A deep dive into our data sample shows that the City of London (borough) takes the crown for the worst place to park in over the festive period. The borough issued a whopping 12,800 fines to its population of just 9,721.
Harrow also contributes to the city’s overarching top spot, with both the highest amount of fines issued and the highest total value. The north London borough issued 77,811 fines to almost 31% of its population in the run-up to Christmas.
|Borough||Population in 2019||Number of fines|
|London - Westminster||261,317||18,062|
|London - Wandsworth||329,677||11,883|
|London - Waltham Forest||276,983||7,047|
|London - Tower Hamlets||324,745||9,553|
|London - The City of London||9,721||12,800|
|London - Sutton||206,349||2,215|
|London - Southwark||318,830||4,033|
|London - Richmond upon Thames||198,019||5,854|
|London - Newham||353,134||15,981|
|London - Merton||206,548||4032|
|London - Lewisham||305,842||6,703|
|London - Lambeth||326,034||10,636|
|London - Kingston upon Thames||177,507||8,684|
|London - Kensington and Chelsea||156,129||13,288|
|London - Islington||242,467||10,558|
|London - Hounslow||271,523||7,061|
|London - Havering||259,552||6,593|
|London - Harrow||251,160||77,811|
|London - Haringey||268,647||15,786|
|London - Hammersmith and Fulham||185,143||10,635|
|London - Greenwich||287,942||4,304|
|London - Ealing||341,806||3,086|
|London - Croydon||386,710||12,674|
|London - Brent||329,771||11,388|
|London - Bexley||248,287||4,959|
|London - Barking and Dagenham||212,906||8,001|
A Christmas solution
Unless you did all your Christmas shopping during Black Friday, you may be heading to the shops in person this month. But with over half the population willing to travel for their festive shopping, parking fines could see a rise. As a solution, perhaps you could join the 24.8% of Brits who will be taking their shopping ventures online or the 24.9% who will be taking a stroll to the shops. Or you could take a cleansing approach and join the 10.50% who have sworn off Christmas shopping altogether for this year.
For all media enquiries, please contact
- Finder commissioned Onepoll on 7-11 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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