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The Cost of Permit and Residential Parking

A new survey conducted by Carbuyer has indicated the rising costs of residential parking permits; in some areas, people are being forced to shell out more than £1,200 for their annual parking! 

Almost 250 UK councils were surveyed to obtain the varying costs of a parking permit. Councils were also asked to include details of any administration fees or supplementary costs to get a clearer picture of how residents are being charged. Unsurprisingly, costs vary hugely depending on the region, urban or countryside parking, and various other factors including the type of vehicles people own and the fuel they consume.

cancelled parking ticketOne thing to note is that generally permits are for single vehicles; where a household owns more than one car there will be an additional cost. The figures quoted in this article are specifically for the first vehicle only. The highest price returned was a figure of £1,258 per annum to park at the private Barbican Estate in London. As expected, London boroughs feature highly in the most expensive areas, with Islington, Enfield, Camden and Lambeth charging £300-£475 per year. City centre zones in Birmingham and Manchester are also highly expensive, with Birmingham’s inner city centre a whopping £785, and Manchester is £750. 

Seven London boroughs also add a premium for diesel cars, though this has not yet extended outside the capital. Some exemptions do apply for owners of cleaner diesels, the motor trade and business owners such as taxi drivers, but four councils apply the same surcharge across the board regardless. Merton’s is highest, at £115 per annum. While it might be expected that drivers of new and used cars can expect a premium for using roads if their vehicles are highly polluting, it seems odd to apply an additional charge for parking, when the engine is switched off!

Some councils also add administration charges. Solihull MBC is the worst offender here, with a “joining fee” of £180 in addition to an annual premium of £103.50. Some London boroughs charge for any changes to permits, or for refunds, but again this seems odd when most of this work can be done through an automated, online system.

What about cleaner cars? Westminster lead the way here, thanks to free permits for hybrid cars, electric and solar powered vehicles. Over 30 councils provide discounts for cars emitting lower levels of carbon dioxide. In Brighton the cost for cars emitting under 100g/km is £65, but this rises by almost £100 for vehicles emitting over 166g/km. In Islington, permits are free for the lowest emitters.

Some councils also impose penalties depending on vehicle weight or length. Although, most parking bays are of a standard size, some councils ramp up prices for longer cars. York and Norwich are two councils which penalise drivers of such cars, which is imposed regardless of any ‘clean’ credentials.

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Prices often rise considerably for owners of multiple vehicles. While some motoring costs, like insurance policies, work on a sliding scale, this is not the case for parking permits. Sevenoaks residents for example, even charge non-car owners who live in their charging zones (£35 per year, rising to several hundred pounds for multiple spots). Daventry car owners pay just £19 for their first permit, but a second one costs £300 more!

What does appear to be an undeniable conclusion is that parking permit costs depend entirely on region and postcode – until this is either standardised or rules are simplified, many residents will be left severely out of pocket compared to their equivalents in other regions (in some cases, just a few streets away).


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