Currently reading: Nine out of ten councils do not plan to increase parking bay sizes
Data obtained by Autocar finds the average car has increased in length by an average of 97.6mm (3.8 inches)

Fewer than 1-in-10 UK councils (8.2%) have plans to increase the size of their parking bays, despite the fact that cars are getting bigger – that’s according to data exclusively obtained by Autocar. 

Data from a Freedom of Information request reveals drivers of larger cars will find it increasingly hard to park their car without risking punishment if the current trend of growing car dimensions continues. 

Analysing how the sizes of some of the UK’s most popular models have changed since 2018, Autocar compared the sizes of a sample of 27 cars sold in the UK. It found they had increased in length by an average of 97.6mm (3.8 inches). 

As one example, the BMW 7 Series has grown nearly a foot longer, meaning it is too long for the vast majority of parking spaces in the UK.

Standard off-street parking bays measure 2.40 metres wide by 4.80 metres long, and seven out of the top 10 best-selling car brands in the UK last year produce cars that exceed this length.

To make matters worse, five UK councils already impose maximum length restrictions on vehicles, putting the drivers of many big-selling models at risk of receiving fines when using council-run facilities. 

Of the 287 councils that responded to Autocar’s request, 1.7% expressly ban cars exceeding a specific length, ranging from as little as 5.00 metres up to 5.35 metres. 

That means models including the Tesla Model X, Mercedes S Class and Range Rover are unparkable in council-run facilities in Wokingham, South Hams, and Broadland and South Norfolk.

Since 2018, Autocar found that councils have issued more than 357,000 Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) for cars parked outside marked bays since 2018, raking in more than £8m over this period.

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Boris9119 4 May 2024

With the amount of tax you pay when buying a Bentley Bentayga Extended Wheelbase, and the amount of tax you pay each year on road tax and fuel, the least the council could do is make their parking spaces large enough. Oh, and a dedicated parking space near the front would be nice.

405line 3 May 2024

I wholeheartedly agree with the councils on this issue. We have a speed limit, height limit and all sorts of limits for cars, their overall dimensions are becoming a problem and need to be addressed in law. Pretty sure someone in this magazine was raving about the KIA EV9 which shows you the mindset behind this publication.

Boris9119 2 May 2024

If nine out of ten councils do not intend to increase parking bay sizes then nine out of ten councils are not fit for purpose. No surprise there then!

Andrew1 2 May 2024

The cars are not fit for purpose anymore. If you buy a whale and it doesn't fit in the parking space then park it on your drive. Don't have one? You should have thought of that before buying it.

Public money are not there to accommodate your inconsiderate car.