Councils make over £242 million from parking permits in three years

  • UK councils generated an estimated £200,000 in revenue from parking permits every day in 2018
  • Since 2016, an additional 2,500 streets now require parking permits
  • Three million people have seen the cost of their parking permit increase in the last 12 months


New research1 by Churchill Car Insurance reveals residential roads across the UK have collectively earned councils over £242 million from applications for parking permits since 2016. In 2017, roads with permits generated £87.6 million in revenue, an increase of £10 million, or 13 per cent, from the previous year. Last year saw parking permit income of £77.2 million.

The analysis also found that the number of roads across the UK requiring parking permits has increased in recent years. Between 2016 and 2018, an additional 2,500 permitted streets were introduced – a six per cent increase.

However, despite this increase in the number of permitted roads, parking permit applications have seen a significant fall. Over two million applications were made to local councils in 2016, with this number falling to 1.6 million in 2017, a decrease of 22 per cent. Last year saw even fewer applications made with only 1.4 million across the UK, a further 12 per cent decrease.

Support for residential parking permits appears to be falling; only 13 per cent of the population are supportive of parking permits in their area2.  Research shows three million drivers have seen a rise in the price of their permit over the last year, with 42 per cent of those affected feeling that the permit costs are too high.

The cost of parking permits varies across the UK and within councils due to a range of factors. In Lambeth, the price of a permit depends on vehicle emissions or engine size. For example, a vehicle that produces up to 100 CO2g/km will cost £35.84 per year in comparison to one that produces 225 CO2 g/km or 3000+ CC which would cost the owner £306.17 per year.  In Norwich, the cost of a permit depends on the length of a vehicle with prices ranging from £24.60 to £52.80 per year; and in Edinburgh permits depend on the street location and vehicle emissions with the council charging between £35.50 and £524 per year.3

Regions 2016 2017 2018 Change 2016-2018
South East 6,417 6,533 6,713 4.6%
London 6,,574 6,612 6,604 0.5%
Yorkshire and The Humber 5,790 5,839 6,129 5.8%
East of England 5,548 5,744 5,971 7.6%
North West 3,723 3,903 4,089 9.8%
East Midlands 3,249 3,436 3,773 16.1%
South West 2,634 2,792 2,814 6.8%
Scotland 2,542 2,648 2,684 5.6%
Wales 2,344 2,356 2,400 2.4%
North East 2,304 3,485 2,396 4.0%
West Midlands 1,060 1,094 1,120 5.7%
Grand Total 42,187 44,443 44,693 5.9%

Alex Borgnis, head of Car Insurance at Churchill, said: “For people who live in towns and cities, parking close to home can be a challenge, with access to available parking on many streets being in short supply. While the cost of permits can be frustrating for residents, they can make it significantly easier for people to park outside their own homes.

“Whether you have access to residential parking, own a permit, or are unable to park your vehicle outside your home, it is important to always take the necessary precautions to limit the chances of your car being stolen or damaged.  We recommend that car owners should always double lock their vehicle, even if they are only leaving it for a few minutes; keep their car keys out of sight of doors and windows; never leave valuables visible inside the vehicle; and finally park in a well-lit, populated area whenever possible.”

In the past three years, councils report that a significant number of parking permit applications have been rejected because forms were filled in incorrectly, people applied for a permit in the wrong zone or didn’t have the correct documents to prove their residency. If people require a permit, we recommend taking extra care to ensure their application has the best chance of being accepted. 4

Regionally, the East Midlands has seen the sharpest rise in the number of streets with parking permits, rising by 16 per cent between 2016 and 2018. This is followed by the North West (10 per cent) and the East of England (eight per cent). London saw the highest number of parking permit applications last year, with more than 560,000 applications accounting for two fifths of all applications across the UK.


Notes to Editor

1. Freedom of Information Act request made to 379 district and borough councils and 26 county councils across Great Britain on 9th January 2019. In total, 215 local councils and 16 county councils, covering 84 local councils, provided usable responses. 51 councils were unable to provide usable data and 29 councils did not provide a response. Figures extrapolated to cover the whole of Great Britain.

2. Research conducted by Opinium among 2,003 UK adults between 12th March & 15th March 2019

3. Lambeth:, Norwich: Edinburgh:

4. Information gathered from telephone research across twenty councils in the UK.

For further information please contact:

Emma Cava 
PR Manager (Motor)
Direct Line Group

Tel: 01651 831 715
Email: [email protected]

Alannah Sims

Citigate Dewe Rogerson

[email protected]

0207 025 6563


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