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The UK’s worst streets for drivers revealed

Local councils have received nearly £20 million from driving fines* in certain parts of the UK. More than a third1 believe that the councils make too much money from penalising drivers through penalty charge notices (PCNs). So how do you appeal a fine? And which areas in the UK are the worst for driving fines? 

Parking ticket on windscreen

We requested information from UK councils about streets in their authority that dealt the most fines during the 2020/2021 financial year. This includes fines for parking offences, driving in bus lanes or blocking a yellow box junction.

According to our data, councils collected £19.5 million for offences committed on the top 103 streets for fines in the UK. These fines were issued over a 12 month period.

The amount councils take for driving fines hasn’t gone unnoticed. Over a third (34%) said that councils make too much money penalising drivers through PCNS. The average amount paid in penalties was around £72 - that’s according to the 1 in 2 drivers who said they received a PCN.

That said, over half of drivers aren’t opposed to paying for PCNs. They said that anything between £11-£40 is a reasonable amount to pay for breaking certain road rules.

We expose the streets in the UK where you are most likely to be hit with fines and look at how you could challenge a driving fine if you get one. 

 

Which is the worst street for fines in the UK?

Browning Road** in Newham, London is the worst street for driving fines.

In the financial year 2020/2021, Newham council issued £3.3 million worth of fines to Browning Road. Drivers bending the rules on this street would have likely received a ticket, as the council issued a grand total of 67,557 tickets. 

Our data also revealed that the top five streets for issuing PCNs in the UK would have received a combined amount of more than £1 million. These streets were:

  • Browning Road - Newham
  • Dermody Road - Lewisham
  • Lansdowne Drive - Hackney
  • Cornhill - City of London
  • Wapping High Street - Tower Hamlets

Most expensive streets in London for PCNs issued to drivers

Council Street Amount Number of tickets
Newham
Browning Road
£3,316,255
67,557
Lewisham
Dermody Road
£2,956,177
48,223
Hackney
Lansdowne Drive
£2,826,415
47,783
City of London
Cornhill
£1,831,270
30,943
Tower Hamlets
Wapping High Street
£1,061,068
18,681
Barking & Dagenham
Station Parada
£937,764
15,152
Havering
Tangent Link
£846,892
11,319
Harrow
Charlton Road / D’Arcy Avenue
£655,201
12,415
Camden
Southampton Row
£599,597
8,740
Wandsworth
Putney High Street
£538,655
8,751
 

What were the worst streets for fines outside of London?

It’s not just London that sees high-yielding streets for parking fines. Stockport Road in Manchester gained over £193,000 in fines in 2020/2021. The council issued over 5,000 PCNs to people who weren’t following the parking rules on this street. 

The top 5 streets outside of london were:

  • Stockport Road - Manchester

  • Copy Nook - Blackburn

  • A62 Oldham Road - Oldham

  • Phoenix Street - Derby

  • New George Street - Plymouth


Most expensive streets outside London for PCNs issued to drivers

Council Street Amount Number of tickets
Manchester
Stockport Road
£193,893
5,258
Blackburn
Copy Nook
£94,856
1,773
Oldham
A62 Oldham Road
£86,613
3,180
Derby
Phoenix Street
£81,927
2,466
Plymouth
New George Street
£79,710
1,281
Stoke
Stafford Street, Hanley
£75,037
2,009
Southend
London Road
£64,448
2,177
Slough
High Street
£60,195
3,494
Bristol
Gloucester Road
£47,187
1,305
Sheffield
Ecclesall Road
£44,994
1,062
 

Why are drivers receiving PCNs?

The top reasons why drivers are receiving PCNs are:

  • Parking offences

  • Driving in a bus lane

  • Stopping in a box junction

Of those reasons, parking offences are the most common. This could be because drivers are chancing it because there aren’t enough parking spaces. 

Almost 1 in 3 drivers said there weren't enough parking spaces on their local high street. And over 2 in 5 (42%) drivers said there weren’t enough parking spaces in their local city centre. As a result, 2 in 5 (41%) received a parking fine for incorrect parking in the city centre. 

If they can't find a space, drivers might be tempted to take risks when it comes to parking. For example, parking on single or double yellow lines. This could potentially cause damage to their car and bump up their car insurance premiums.

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Drivers might also be tempted risk parking in blue badge bays for drivers with a disability. Without a blue badge clearly displayed, you could get a fine of up to  £1,000. 

On top of this, 1 in 3 motorists use a parent and child parking bay when they don’t have a child with them. But punishment for parking in these spaces can be confusing when it comes to PCNs. 

As these spaces are usually on private land, like a supermarket, they don’t have the same rules as council-owned spaces. So any punishment for parking incorrectly is up to the discretion of the land owner. 

 

Can I appeal my PCN?

If you feel you’ve been unfairly punished with a PCN, you can appeal it. 

But this process can be confusing. Only 6% of drivers said they think their local council has an easy process for appealing a fine. Our PCN challenge checklist can give you tips on how to do this, but at a glance, you’ll need to:

  • Informally or formally challenge your PCN. You should be able to do this by following the advice on your ticket.

  • Explain why you think the fine is unfair.

  • Include evidence, like photos, correspondence and witness statements, to support your challenge.

Our research shows that more than half (52%) of drivers who received a PCN appeal it. And the results weren’t all bad, 7 in 10 (73%) appeals were successful and drivers paid a reduced price or nothing at all.

The top reasons for appealing were:

  • The ticket was unfair

  • The signage was confusing and unclear - a third (33%) of drivers feel that councils should spend more money making signs clearer to avoid future parking issues

 

What are the parking rules?

Car parking rules can be confusing, here are some of the main ones to look out for: 

  • Don’t park in a residential street without a permit.
  • Check the signs before you park on a single yellow line. Sometimes you can park on them at certain times.
  • Don’t park on double yellow lines. You might be able to stop on them to offload or pick up heavy goods.
  • Don’t park on red lines.
  • Don’t park opposite a junction.
  • It’s illegal to clamp a car on private land.
  • Don’t park in disabled bays unless you have a blue badge.
  • Don’t park in parent and child parking bays if you don’t have a child with you. You might be able to park in a parent and child parking space if you have a blue badge or if you’re pregnant.  Make sure you check with your local supermarket.

*Confused.com issued a Freedom of Information request to UK councils requesting the following information:

  • Which single street in your council area has produced the highest income from parking enforcement (income from just fines) in the 2020/2021 financial year? Please provide details of the number of tickets issued and the income to the council of motorists paying parking enforcement fines in this single street in the 2020/21 financial year.

** Browning Road is part of a scheme where only emergency response vehicles, buses, cyclists, black cabs and local residents are allowed to drive through. A similar Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) operates in Dermody Road, Lewisham and Lansdowne Drive, Hackney.

1 All figures taken from omnibus research carried out by One Poll on behalf of Confused.com. This was an online poll of 2,000 UK adults who drive (nationally representative sample). The research was conducted between 9th and 14th June 2022.