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Increase in parking fines by private firms

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Following the introduction of hi-tech enforcement techniques and CCTV cameras in supermarkets and other commercial car parks, the number of automatic parking fines issued by private firms has increased dramatically, according to the DVLA.

The number of electronic requests from private parking companies for vehicle details from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has jumped from 272,215 in 2006/07 to 1,167,713 in 2010/11 – this is a rise of nearly 400 per cent.

This means that such penalties are now costing drivers approximately £93million per year as the average fine from private parking firms stands at around £80.
Electronic requests are now a regular thing by private firms as they send penalty fines out to drivers.

Supermarket Asda has said it uses the CCTV and hi-tech technology in its car parks where there is proven evidence to suggest that it is being abused by non shoppers. It says that it also intends to expand the technology to ten per cent of its stores this year.

The British Parking Association, the trade body for private parking firms, said the technology merely enforces existing rules, and that the rise in requests to the DVLA did not necessarily mean more fines were being handed out.
Chief executive of the British Parking Association, Patrick Troy said: “The technology has moved forward and it is less likely for you to see a warden strolling around a car park anymore. While there has been a rise in fines issued this way, it means fewer fines are being attached to windscreens.”

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