Nearly half of all parking tickets could have been issued incorrectly

File photo dated 31/10/16 of a penalty charge notice (PCN) parking ticket issued on the windscreen of a car, as motorists are being hit with unnecessary fines because councils are failing to explain their right to challenge parking tickets, the local government watchdog has warned.

Close to half of all parking tickets distributed in the UK last year could have been issued incorrectly, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

An investigation by The Sun found that Brits won 44 per cent of their parking fine appeals last year, after FOI requests were sent out to more than 100 councils around the country.

It was revealed that councils issued a collective four million tickets in 2015/16 – close to 11,000 per day – and that 875,776 were appealed, out of which 385,341 were done so successfully.

However, The Sun claims that the true figure would be much higher, as "hundreds of councils refused to publish their damning data."

Following the investigation, the AA accused councils of "throwing tickets around like confetti".

It said: "The Sun's investigation underlines the massive con of parking enforcement.

"Dodgy tickets are issued on the basis that councils and parking operators will get away with it – because the vast majority of victims won't appeal.

"Councils have long seen parking enforcement as a cash cow, instead of a way to deter selfish drivers from parking where they shouldn't.

"The AA has long felt that drivers should be compensated for the expense and lost time in making a successful appeal. That would make councils think twice before throwing tickets around like confetti."

The newspaper reported that the Liberal Democrats also criticised councils over the parking fines, saying the findings were "another nail in the coffin for the High Street".

Party chief Tim Farron said: "Seeing so many tickets overturned shows how stupid the current rules are."

Huntingdonshire District Council had the highest appeal success rate, at 81.55 per cent. It was followed by Waverly Borough Council and City of Lincoln Council, where a respective 79.06 per cent and 78.43 per cent of appeals were successful.