Parking permits from local councils have increased by an average of 51% since 2011, according to new research.

An investigation by esure Car Insurance found some residents having to pay nearly £800 a year to park near their home.

The figures, which have been released in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, show councils raised £44.2 million in revenue from residential parking permits in 2014/15.

Cashing in

The insurer found that more than a third of councils (37%) have raised residential parking charges since 2011. On average this has pushed costs up 51%, but in some cases residents have been hit with far bigger increases.

Those that live in north-east Lincolnshire, for example, have seen the cost of a first residential permit rise from £15 to £80 – an incredible 433% increase. Meanwhile, residents in Hull have seen the cost jump from £7.50 to £20, which amounts to a whopping 166% hike.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation motoring charity, claimed many drivers saw the charges as a "stealth tax on people who have no choice other than to pay".

The research also found that since 2014, more than half (54%) of councils have bumped up the number of paid parking zones in their area. These controlled zones act as another way for local authorities to charge motorists.

The most expensive areas for parking permits

The investigation uncovered some huge variations in the cost of residents’ parking permits. The most expensive areas are shown below.

 

Council

Cost of residents’ parking permit

1

Birmingham City Council

£785

2

Manchester City Council

£750

3

City of Edinburgh Council

£600

4

London Borough of Islington

£545

5

Mid Devon District Council

£425

6

Purbeck District Council

£372

7

Mole Valley, Council, Surrey

£350

8

London Borough of Croydon*

£305

9

London Borough of Brent*

£302

10

Huntingdonshire District Council

£300

Source: esure

*Cost of third permit per household

The average cost of a residential parking permit is £64, but drivers in areas like Birmingham and Manchester are paying as much as 12 times that.

Yet despite paying these charges to park, many drivers still struggle to find a parking space near their own home.

Esure says that, over the past two decades, the number of vehicles on the road in Britain has gone up by 10 million, but spaces available for residential parking has not budged.

Jon Wilshire, chief underwriting officer at esure, said: “Parking is a costly bone of contention for most drivers. With the cost and number of paid for zones on the rise some motorists are paying hundreds of pounds simply to park their car near their home.”

[Related story: From fully comp cover to fronting, car insurance myths debunked]

What the Government says

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: "This government is standing up for local shops and residents and stopping drivers being treated as cash cows.

"We have introduced new measures that mean taxpayers will be able to see how much their council is charging, how much they are making and how that money is being used.

"It's part of wider efforts to put residents back in the driving seat so they can see first-hand how well their council is performing."

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