These are the counties that hand out the most parking tickets

Drivers in Durham should be the most cautious parkers in England as new research shows that more parking fines are handed out there than anywhere else in the country.

A Freedom of Information request found that 41,591 parking tickets have been handed out by Durham County Council so far in 2021, considerably higher than even the next highest council.

In second place is Buckinghamshire Council, which dished out 32,372 tickets.

The rest of the top five is made up of North Yorkshire County Council (32,256), East Sussex County Council (28,379) and Oxfordshire County Council (26,802).

Gatwick Airport parking issue

At the other end of the scale, Somerset Council has handed out the fewest tickets so far this year, with 10,191, about a quarter of the number seen in Durham.

It was followed by Staffordshire County Council (10,427), Derbyshire County Council (11,602), Shropshire Council (12,324) and Herefordshire Council (12,367).

Looking at the data, there doesn’t appear to be too much consistency within regions, with the highest and least number of fines spread across the north and south of the country, with a combination of more rural and urban areas too.

Peter Brabin, head of training at Bill Plant Driving School, which conducted the research, said: “It may be that Durham just has a lot more traffic wardens than most other areas.

“Despite this possibility, there’s still quite a big jump between the amount of tickets handed out in Somerset, for example, compared to the number handed out in Durham.

“Ultimately, the fault lies with the motorist. It’s their job to ensure they have parked legally, whether that’s on a free-to-park area of the road, in a car park or otherwise.

“It’s never nice to return to your vehicle and find a parking ticket, but most councils will allow you to pay a reduced rate if you pay within a short window of time. If you can’t pay the fine, don’t do the crime.”