Parking bays to be widened in UK following SUV boom

The growing popularity of SUVs has caused car park collisions to rise by over a third in the last two years

Parking space

Car parking spaces will be made bigger in the future to accommodate the rising number of SUVs and large 4x4s which have caused a sharp rise in the number of car park accidents, the UK’s largest car park provider has said.

National Car Parks (NCP) said it has already widened parking its bays in London, Manchester and Bournemouth to cope with the country's love affair with SUVs, 4x4s and large family estates. According to figures from courtesy car provider Accident Exchange, there has been a 35 per cent rise in car park related accidents since 2014.

• Best 4x4s and SUVs to buy in 2016

Speaking to the Times, the NCP said it is widening bays to “allow for easier use for bigger vehicles.” The current standard for parking spaces in the UK is 4.8 meters long and 2.4 meters wide – making it a tight squeeze for cars like the Audi Q7, BMW X5 or Mercedes' GLS-Class –  all of which exceed the 4.8m length. SUVs like the Nissan Qashqai are some of the best selling models currently in the UK, and the latest figures suggest nearly one in three new cars sold is an SUV. 

However, the company acknowledged that widening bays comes at the expense of fewer parking spaces, and said there exists an “extremely fine balance” between creating wider spaces and answering calls for more parking. 

A spokeswoman for the NCP said: “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.”

Scott Hamilton-Cooper of Accident Exchange, said: “Some drivers feel certain car parks are no-go areas due to the sheer length and width of their cars. 

However, the plans have been met with opposition from campaigners, who believe that widening bays is penalising motorists who’ve opted for smaller, eco-friendly cars.

• Best small cars 2016

Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace UK, said: “Making more space for large gas guzzlers at the expense of other cars is the opposite of what we should be doing. We need to rethink our transport infrastructure so that those who make the right choice for our health and the environment are rewarded, not penalised.” 

Should parking spaces be made bigger? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below...

Recommended

Councils to get new powers to issue fines for traffic offences
Box junction
Consumer news

Councils to get new powers to issue fines for traffic offences

Local authorities will be able to fine drivers who commit moving traffic contraventions under legislation being drawn up
18 Jan 2021
UK drivers to escape EU speed camera fines due to Brexit
Citroen DS Eiffel Tower
Consumer news

UK drivers to escape EU speed camera fines due to Brexit

UK’s departure from the European Union puts an end to cross-border directive, leaving EU countries unable to enforce speeding penalties for drivers ca…
13 Jan 2021
Driverless car users may not be liable in accidents
Jaguar Land Rover autonomous testing - static
Consumer news

Driverless car users may not be liable in accidents

Law Commission proposes motorists in driverless cars should be renamed “users in charge” as part of “no-blame culture”
18 Dec 2020
Smart motorways explained
M6 motorway traffic
Consumer news

Smart motorways explained

Smart motorways are meant to be a cost-effective way of increasing road capacity, but they’ve made headlines for the wrong reasons
16 Dec 2020

Most Popular

'MG's sales must rank as the success story of the year, possibly the decade'
MG 2020
Opinion

'MG's sales must rank as the success story of the year, possibly the decade'

Mike Rutherford says plenty of big car brands could learn from MG's focus on cheap cars
17 Jan 2021
Hyundai i30 vs Volkswagen Golf
Hyundai i30 vs Volkswagen Golf - main
Car group tests

Hyundai i30 vs Volkswagen Golf

Can the updated Hyundai i30 provide tough competition for the latest Volkswagen Golf?
16 Jan 2021
Best electric cars to buy 2021
Electric cars

Best electric cars to buy 2021

There are more electric cars than ever to choose from, so we've picked some of the best you can buy in the UK now
4 Jan 2021