The number of parking tickets handed to British drivers soared by more than one million in just 12 months, new figures show.

Some 6.81 million vehicle keeper records were requested by parking management firms in 2018-19, according to RAC Foundation analysis of Government data.

This is the highest total on record and represents a 20% increase year-on-year.

Parking companies obtain records from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to chase car owners for alleged infringements in private car parks such as at shopping centres, leisure facilities and motorway service areas.

Parking tickets
(PA Graphics)

Each resultant penalty charge can cost drivers up to £100.

Legislation aimed at putting rogue car park operators out of business officially became law in March.

Sir Greg Knight MP’s Parking (Code of Practice) Bill is designed to stop firms accessing the DVLA’s database – thereby limiting their ability to issue tickets – unless they comply with a new code of conduct.

Drivers will also be able to more easily challenge unfair tickets through a new independent appeals service.

In the last 13 years, more than 33 million vehicle keeper records have been obtained by parking firms from the DVLA. More than half of these were in the past three years.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “These staggeringly high numbers stand as a vindication of the urgent need for the measures in Sir Greg Knight’s Act to be put in place – a single, tighter code of practice, a single, consistent appeals body, and strict audit of parking companies’ compliance.

“Businesses who employ private companies to manage their car parks should be taking a close look at how they are operating, the implications for the drivers who will often be their own customers and, ultimately, what that means for their own reputation.

“We have never advocated a parking free-for-all, but for a system that is clear, transparent and fair for drivers and landowners alike.”

The DVLA charges private firms £2.50 per record.

The agency says its charges are set to recover the cost of providing the information and it does not make any money from the process.

Here are the number of vehicle keeper records obtained from the DVLA by parking management companies since 2006-07, according to RAC Foundation analysis:

2018/19: 6.81 million.

2017-18: 5.65 million.

2016-17: 4.71 million.

2015-16: 3.67 million.

2014-15: 3.06 million.

2013-14: 2.43 million.

2012-13: 1.89 million.

2011-12: 1.57 million.

2010-11: 1.17 million.

2009-10: 1.03 million.

2008-09: 687,000.

2007-08: 499,000.

2006-07: 272,000.