Minimum parking bay size to be axed as cars get too big

Workplace 'parking tax'
14 Mar, 2014 4:00pm Joe Finnerty

Government set to give councils power to set car parking space sizes as current minimum size is too small for modern cars

The minimum width of parking bays will be abolished by the Government because cars have become too big.

The size of parking spaces has remained the same since 1994 while car dimensions have continued to grow as extra safety features have been fitted.

The growing popularity of 4x4s and SUV crossovers have also contributed to the current bay sizes just not being big enough and drivers are increasingly being hit with unfair fines for parking over lines or having their cars damaged.

• Pump price fury as UK tops EU fuel tax table

Currently, parking bays on roads can be a maximum length of 6.6 metres and minimum of 4.5 metres, and a maximum width of 2.7 metres and minimum of 1.8 metres.

The Government is expected to consult on the plans to scrap the minimum size and allow local authorities to set the size of parking bays later this year as part of wider-reaching changes planned for traffic signs and road regulations.

However, MPs last night warned scrapping the size totally could see local authorities take advantage of their new powers to make spaces even smaller, forcing drivers into smaller eco-cars.

• Variable speed limits could help traffic flow in motorway roadworks

Conservative MP Sir Greg Knight, chairman of the all-party historic vehicles group, who raised the issue in Parliament, wants the minimum size expanded rather than abolished. He said: "We need to make sure money-grabbing, anti-car local authorities don't use this to try to replace 20 parking spaces with 25."

The AA backed up concerns that councils could exploit the relaxation of rules to make even more money from drivers. 

“Some councils will try to maximise their opportunity and increase revenue by having more but smaller parking bays,” said Paul Watters, head of roads policy for the AA. “It would not only mean more cars in the bays, it would mean if cars were ‘overhanging’ they would get more penalties.”

• Nearly half of England's road markings need replacing

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “This spring the Government will consult on changes to traffic signs, which will also include proposals to relax the current stringent requirements for parking bays.

“No decisions have yet been made, but it is clear that individual traffic authorities are best placed to decide on the size of parking bays, not central government.”

Disqus - noscript

Sounds as if the "harrumphing classes" (Motoring organisations and M.P.s) have been busy and no more sensible than normal. Anything which deters vehicles from getting ever podgier and taking up more and more space both when parked and on the road should be welcomed. Overflow the parking space then pay more. Good!

Better still, why doesn't the government fix our bl**dy AWFUL roads first!!! Damage to alloys, suspensions, not to mention life threatening accidents to bikers is causing havoc for motorists with huge potholes, craters, and cracks going unattended to for years. SORT IT OUT CAMERON!

so heavily taxed motorists should be forced to pay more in fines because councils will no doubt deliberately make parking bays too small to house modern cars and they will do so with the blessing of the government who will expect councils to use this new 'cheat' to subsidise their income after central government have cut the councils grants.
Motorists are the most heavily taxed user group in the uk but what some blind and bigoted people need to admit is that without the car the economy of this country (or almost any modern nation) would collapse as millions of people would not be able to go about their lawful employment and the government would be virtually broke without all the swingeing tax revenue they get from the transport industry. And cars are bloated because of the safety systems they now carry, perhaps that should be scrapped so more motorists can die or suffer life changing injuries. It is no use either side complaining about the other, because strange bedfellows they may be, they need each other and cannot survive without each other.

I would prefer cars reduced in size. I think it ludicrous with ever more cars on the road and getting ever larger both combining to increase congestion.
But then we can have more taxes like the 'London Car Tax' or more commonly known as the Congestion Charge.

No, cars are bloated because people don't have the wit not to buy things larger than they need and manufacturers suck up to this "mine's bigger than yours" mentality. Only some of the bloat can be ascribed to safety engineering.
Keep vehicles to a sensible size and more can be parked.

A very simple solution, ban SUV's from inner city parking bays, and urban area in general, I understand the need for a 4x4 in rural areas, but not for the school run, Mummy doesn't need a white Evoque to pick up the kids, honest..

An Evoque is smaller in every way but height than a Mondeo.

Agreed, but a better comparison would be a Range Rover, as Evoques are not very big (or special, if that's partly the point you're trying to make) really.

So what about people carriers? An S-Max is just as wide as most SUV's and Surely you cant penalise somebody if they do have the requirement for an SUV. For example need to tow a lot or live on a farm or do any events that take them in the rough. You can't ban them from the city centre.

Since when is it okay to dictate what people drive. If people can afford the extra fuel costs, road tax etc, let them drive what they want. I know lets also ban supercars because they are far too wide oh and 3 doors as they tend to have bigger doors and so you have to open them wider.

The wife has a new C4 Picasso. Its not particularly wide but struggles in most parking bays. Most other drivers in the past have quite happily used my car as a door stop so quite happy to see the possible introduction of wider bays.

To use the argument about cars have to be bigger in order to become safer is ridiculous. Most small city cars these days are 5 star N Cap rated. The major car manufacturers like BMW, Merc, Ford, etc are to blame for building them in the first place.

I've bee looking at houses on new estates recently: awful! But the point is, these claustrophobic mazes have too-narrow roads, where even before all the houses are finished people are already parking on the fresh pavements.
Planning in Britain is totally hopeless. We don't build or plan for today, let alone the future, and our councils are in thrall to weird detached-from-life self interest groups who live off the back of the taxpayer by doing non-jobs which make all our lives more miserable. They love their bonkers policies and hate us, like commies really.
Making parking bays smaller will result in different parties being elected - I hope.
Just fix the bl**dy roads and let us breathe in this cramped, scruffy little country!.

They are rated 5 stars but would still come off worse in a collision with a heavier vehicle that has 5 stars. A larger car has more space for crumple zones.

For more breaking car news and reviews, subscribe to Auto Express - available as a weekly magazine and on your iPad. We'll give you 6 issues for £1 and a free gift!

Sponsored Links