Kent and Medway second only to London after giving out more than a million parking fines
A traffic warden at work in Kent
Motorists are warned to check they have parked their car in the right place this morning as figures reveal the extent of Kent and Medway's parking charges.
The county is second only to London when it comes to the number of fines dished out by traffic wardens.
A total of 1,014,380 parking charge notices were issued to drivers in 2011 – the only area outside the capital to issue more than a million tickets.
Figures released by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) show that council revenues from charges have risen by nearly 10% in the last five years across the UK.
Councils across Kent and Medway brought in £34,403,579 of revenue from parking, permit and penalty notice charges in 2011 – a rise of 6.68%.
Across the UK, councils made more than £884m. The figure was £810m in 2008.
The FSB said the charges are putting high streets across the county under threat and is calling on local authorities to bring in a more effective parking policy.
National chairman John Allan said: "We know there is no such thing as free parking, but local authorities need a voice in the local community about how the cost and availability of parking affects their business.
"We know that budgets are tight, but we don't want to see parking being used as a revenue grab.
"FSB experience shows that when parking charges are introduced many shops suffer.
"We want to see organisations and local authorities come together to discuss parking provision to make it work, not just for business, but for customers too."
Kent and Medway are second only to London when it comes to issuing parking charges
Herne Bay Independent Retail Group leader Nigel Hancock said: "Anything councils can do to plough back excess revenues into the local economy is good.
"The problem with these figures is they will make people hate traffic wardens more.
"From a local trader's point of view, if they can extend free parking bays to two hours and subsidise off-street parking, particularly when special events are going on, then that helps enormously."
Some drivers miss signs detailing parking restrictions
Today signals the start of Small Business Advice Week. Simon Cliffe, from the campaign, said: "A number of the local businesses we're in contact with cite the rising cost of parking as a key reason for a drop in footfall – which for so many of them is the lifeblood of their business.
"We want this to be a stark wake-up call; right now parking’s not a factor businesses can control which means it’s not fair, especially as the government is placing so much emphasis on SMEs being a community who can get the UK get out of the economic slump."
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