Concerns raised over cost and availability of parking

Nearly a quarter of motorists are using public transport due to lack of affordable spaces

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Concern over the cost and availability of parking is growing among UK motorists, a survey has found.

Parking fees are one of the top four issues for 18% of the 1,700 drivers polled for the latest RAC Report on Motoring.

This is up from just 12% in the previous edition of the annual study.

Anxiety over finding a parking space has also increased, from 8% to 14% over the same period.

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: "Motorists are very clearly more concerned about the availability and cost of parking than they were 12 months ago.

"This is a worrying find as struggling to find somewhere to park and then paying through the nose to do so could have a very negative effect both on individuals who rely on their cars to go about their daily lives and on businesses in our town centres whose viability affects the prosperity of our high streets."

Concern about the availability of parking is greatest in London, where 20% identified it as a "significant issue".

Nearly a quarter (23%) of motorists are making use of public transport due to the lack of affordable parking spaces.

The report added that 84% of motorists feel they are an "easy target" for local authorities to raise revenue through parking fines.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association said: "Councils have to try and strike a balance when setting parking charges to ensure there are spaces available for everyone at all times of the day and we can keep traffic moving.

"If charges are too low, high street spaces can be filled by commuters, making it impossible for shoppers to park, and having a negative knock-on impact on local businesses."

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman: "We've been clear councils shouldn't use parking as a cash cow and many recognise the benefits that reduced or free parking has on encouraging footfall on the high street.

"That's why we're supporting David Tredinnick's Private Members Bill that will help lower parking charges for the public and put a consultation requirement on councils wishing to raise them."