The cost of parking in the UK is a postcode lottery – as is the chance of getting a ticket, according to a consumer watchdog.
Drivers in London predictably face the highest charges, but Manchester, Edinburgh and Leeds are also expensive, Which? found.
The cost of parking on the street varied from £4.40 an hour in London’s West End and £2.60 in Leeds and Birmingham, to free in Coventry.
But the variation is even more pronounced when it comes to council-run car parks, the study found.
Car parks in London’s Soho cost £18 for four hours, followed by Manchester at £13.20 for the same period. The cheapest city surveyed was Bradford, which charged £3.50 for four hours.
Edinburgh was the only city in the study not to offer any council-run car parks. Prices in its privately-run car parks were high at up to £2.50 for an hour or £8.90 for four hours.
It was a “similarly muddled picture” when it came to parking tickets, Which? said. More than eight million parking tickets are issued every year in the UK, with nearly half of those from local authorities in London.
London’s Westminster handed out more tickets than any other council in the survey but more than 19,000 people (87%) won their appeal against the fine in 2008-2009, suggesting a large number of tickets were not issued correctly, the study found.
Westminster City Council disputed the figures. Cllr Lee Rowley, the council’s cabinet member for parking, said: “Not only are these figures old and out of date, but they do not represent a fair reflection of the facts.”
Which? advised drivers to check information about on-street and car park charges on councils’ websites before a journey, adding that it was usually cheaper to park in a council car park than a private one.