Car parks could be overrun by a “carmageddon” of illegal parkers under government plans to cap private parking fines, industry experts have warned.
The government has been consulting on plans to reduce the cap on private parking fines from £100 to £50 across the UK after raising “concerns about the practices of some parking operators”.
The plans would bring private fines in line with those of local authorities and give offending motorists the chance to reduce fines to £25 if paid promptly.
But parking consultant Manny Rasores de Toro warned this would not act as a deterrent for illegal parking.
He said: “Selfish, irresponsible motorists will simply choose to pay the £25 – which is often cheaper than paying for parking all day.”
Mr Rasores de Toro warned of a “carmageddon” of illegal parking and said that the plans would restrict parking options in town centres and prevent shoppers from reaching retail parks.
He said: “We know that we’ve just gone through a very bad patch from the retail world and there is a great deal of competition from the online market.
“The last thing we want is where we make it more difficult for shoppers to go into the high street because spaces have been taken up.”
The warning comes as parking industry bosses gave evidence to the Housing Communities and Local Government Committee this week ahead of a decision on the plans expected before the end of the year.
The cap on private parking fines is expected to dramatically cut revenues in the private parking sector.
The British Parking Association said in August that 67 per cent of firms in the sector could be insolvent within two years.