Car park prangs cost motorists £1.4bn a year; Car park operator NCP responds saying it's already increasing space sizes
Sam Sheehan
21 November 2016

A growing number of new cars are getting too big for British parking spaces, leading to an increase in parking-related accidents.

According to data released by accident aftercare specialist Accident Exchange, car parking prangs have cost British motorists £1.4 billion in the past 12 months, representing 30.85% of claims recorded by the company.

This is an increase of nearly 8% on the same period from the year before, leading to suggestions that the growth in car sizes and slow response of car parks to cater for them is to blame.

Autocar's Smart Fortwo was damaged in a car parking accident

However, Britain's biggest car parking operator National Car Parks (NCP) has now said that it is increasing the size of spaces in several major cities, including Manchester, Bournemouth and London. An NCP spokesperson told The Times "We are moving towards making the bays wider as we recognise that vehicles are growing in size, especially SUVs. Going forward, it is our intention to provide bigger parking bays wherever possible to do so."

This means the NCP spaces are larger than the Government's recommended sizes, which were created in 1987 when the average car was significantly smaller.

Large SUV models such as the Mercedes GLS (pictured below) and Audi Q7 measure more than five metres in length, exceeding the government’s recommended length for a British car parking space, which is 4800mm, by more than 200mm. Even common models such as the 4871mm-long Ford Mondeo and 4842mm Vauxhall Insignia exceed this guideline size.

The government’s recommendation for 2.4m-wide wide parking spaces also leaves occupants with little room to squeeze out of their cars. A Volvo XC90 is 2008mm wide, so if it's parked between two other cars, occupants would have less than 20cm of room on each side to get out. This, suggests Accident Exchange, is increasing the number of door prangs.

Accident Exchange found that 87% of UK councils stick to the car parking space guidelines, emphasising the scale of the problem.

Scott Hamilton-Cooper, director of operations at Accident Exchange, said: “Drivers are having to squeeze increasingly large cars into spaces that generally haven’t got any larger for a very long time.

“Almost all of the councils we researched carried over the government’s recommendation, which makes things tight for large cars. This could be contributing to the rise in car parking incidents we are seeing.”

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Comments
47

21 November 2016
And every revision, every model of car grows larger, and the reviews all say how great it is that the car has grown and has more space.
My volvo XC60 has lots of sound deadening, and hidden unusable wasted empty spaces. But less actual space (particularly in the boot) than my previous smaller skoda Octavia.
Then there are all all the ludicrously large pick up trucks over 5 metres long that seemingly normal people have - Amarok, Navara, Hilux, Ranger and so on.
A shopping centre car park near us has two sections. One has diogenes widths of spaces, so some are plenty big and others far too tight. The other has been reworked to put in underground rain water collection, plus increase the number of spaces. That can only come with less room room in each space.
Is it it the it the government of the manufacturers we we should grumble about?

21 November 2016
@fellwalker so you buy an SUV then complain that it has less space inside than your last normal car (did you not *look* at the interior before buying?), that other people are driving SUVs (what, only you can drive an SUV?) and that spaces are too small (lets all buy cars which can cross the arctic then complain that they can't get into spaces outside the co-op that were first pencilled in when the mk2 Cortina was a top seller).

The article mentions that 2 SUVs would have 20cm of space to open doors, leading to door dings. Another issue is that car design these days, with the swoopy "flame" / "kinetic" / whatever design-language-ese the companies use now do not feature side rubbing strips anymore. Yes the cars look less cluttered, but it means that any doors rammed open are going into the metal bodywork rather than a sacrificial strip of plastic.

21 November 2016
Someone at Autocar asks their 8 year old to fix the software issues with this blog? Clearly whatever or whoever Autocar is using at the moment can't.

Aussie Rob - a view from down under

21 November 2016
Who thought he could order the tide to go out.
Seems like the parking authorities over there think that if they make parking bays 4,8m X 2,4m then manufacturers will reduce the size of their cars to fit.
Now there are old council car parks here with spaces that are way too small, but newer ones are around 6m X 3m and bigger than that away from the city.
Robbo

Aussie Rob - a view from down under

21 November 2016
Aussierob wrote:

Who thought he could order the tide to go out.
Seems like the parking authorities over there think that if they make parking bays 4,8m X 2,4m then manufacturers will reduce the size of their cars to fit.
Now there are old council car parks here with spaces that are way too small, but newer ones are around 6m X 3m and bigger than that away from the city.
Robbo

It has nothing to do with parking authorities, not that there are any of those, it's just local councils planning department policies, which are written in accordance with the Town and Country Planning Act. These only set a minimum standard, should a developer wish to provide bigger spaces, they can, providing there is sufficient space. There are minimum standards set for the amount of parking provision that should be provided for different types of building and its use.

It's us, the customer and vehicle manufactures who are to blame for this. No one needs a Range Rover or a Landcruiser in the UK and manufactures do not have to make cars that are too big for these spaces, but they do and we still buy them.

21 November 2016
Our houses are exactly the same. Land / planning regulations were ridiculous in this country, they have recently been modernised a tad, but the changes havent gone far enough, esp in regard to the so called greenbelt, which is anything but green. Before they were literally following rules developed in the 50's when the pressures on land use were completely different. The recent Immigration hasnt helped either. It isnt just council parking regulations that dictate parking spaces.

21 November 2016
winniethewoo wrote:

Our houses are exactly the same. Land / planning regulations were ridiculous in this country, they have recently been modernised a tad, but the changes havent gone far enough, esp in regard to the so called greenbelt, which is anything but green. Before they were literally following rules developed in the 50's when the pressures on land use were completely different. The recent Immigration hasnt helped either. It isnt just council parking regulations that dictate parking spaces.

Councils try and restrict the number of car parking spaces on new developments and often insist upon bicycle storage provision to fit in with their environmental dreams. Even here in Wales with a very low population density councils made a profit of £13.8 million last year from car parking charges. So no chance of them increasing parking space sizes.

21 November 2016
Campervan wrote:
winniethewoo wrote:

Our houses are exactly the same. Land / planning regulations were ridiculous in this country, they have recently been modernised a tad, but the changes havent gone far enough, esp in regard to the so called greenbelt, which is anything but green. Before they were literally following rules developed in the 50's when the pressures on land use were completely different. The recent Immigration hasnt helped either. It isnt just council parking regulations that dictate parking spaces.

Councils try and restrict the number of car parking spaces on new developments and often insist upon bicycle storage provision to fit in with their environmental dreams. Even here in Wales with a very low population density councils made a profit of £13.8 million last year from car parking charges. So no chance of them increasing parking space sizes.

Parking conditions/restrictions set out when planning consent is granted to a development has nothing to do with the provision/cost of parking in public car parks. That £13.8 million of profit, isn't profit, it is what the council makes from supplying public parking spaces, the 'profit' will be used to supplement budget shortfalls elsewhere within its statutory services. If it is so abhorrent that you have to actually pay to park your car on land that belongs to us all, then lobby your councillor or MP, get the charges abolished, but be prepared to lose another vital service or two when the budget disappears.

21 November 2016
Marc wrote:
Campervan wrote:
winniethewoo wrote:

Our houses are exactly the same. Land / planning regulations were ridiculous in this country, they have recently been modernised a tad, but the changes havent gone far enough, esp in regard to the so called greenbelt, which is anything but green. Before they were literally following rules developed in the 50's when the pressures on land use were completely different. The recent Immigration hasnt helped either. It isnt just council parking regulations that dictate parking spaces.

Councils try and restrict the number of car parking spaces on new developments and often insist upon bicycle storage provision to fit in with their environmental dreams. Even here in Wales with a very low population density councils made a profit of £13.8 million last year from car parking charges. So no chance of them increasing parking space sizes.

Parking conditions/restrictions set out when planning consent is granted to a development has nothing to do with the provision/cost of parking in public car parks. That £13.8 million of profit, isn't profit, it is what the council makes from supplying public parking spaces, the 'profit' will be used to supplement budget shortfalls elsewhere within its statutory services. If it is so abhorrent that you have to actually pay to park your car on land that belongs to us all, then lobby your councillor or MP, get the charges abolished, but be prepared to lose another vital service or two when the budget disappears.

The councils do indeed make a huge profit from car parking charges. Maybe many buy large wheeled vehicles, pick ups and SUV's so they can climb over all the speed humps councils waste our money installing without risking discomfort and damage whilst driving over them.

21 November 2016
Campervan wrote:
Marc wrote:
Campervan wrote:
winniethewoo wrote:

Our houses are exactly the same. Land / planning regulations were ridiculous in this country, they have recently been modernised a tad, but the changes havent gone far enough, esp in regard to the so called greenbelt, which is anything but green. Before they were literally following rules developed in the 50's when the pressures on land use were completely different. The recent Immigration hasnt helped either. It isnt just council parking regulations that dictate parking spaces.

Councils try and restrict the number of car parking spaces on new developments and often insist upon bicycle storage provision to fit in with their environmental dreams. Even here in Wales with a very low population density councils made a profit of £13.8 million last year from car parking charges. So no chance of them increasing parking space sizes.

Parking conditions/restrictions set out when planning consent is granted to a development has nothing to do with the provision/cost of parking in public car parks. That £13.8 million of profit, isn't profit, it is what the council makes from supplying public parking spaces, the 'profit' will be used to supplement budget shortfalls elsewhere within its statutory services. If it is so abhorrent that you have to actually pay to park your car on land that belongs to us all, then lobby your councillor or MP, get the charges abolished, but be prepared to lose another vital service or two when the budget disappears.

The councils do indeed make a huge profit from car parking charges. Maybe many buy large wheeled vehicles, pick ups and SUV's so they can climb over all the speed humps councils waste our money installing without risking discomfort and damage whilst driving over them.

As already stated, councils do not make a profit, any money made on the provision of a chargeable service will be used to provide or supplement another statutory service, stop the charging and you likely stop another service, either way, the council loses the public vote. An amount of money will be held as a surplus to cover emergencies or anticipated future budget cuts.

If we didn't drive at inappropriate speeds through built up areas there would be no need for speed 'humps'. But again that is a problem 'we' do not want to confront, far easier to blame someone else.

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