Is your vehicle too long for public car parks?

Is your vehicle too long for public car parks?
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request has found that five councils in England have banned vehicles over five metres long from using car parks.

This could be the start of a wider plan to exclude longer vehicles from these areas, with 91% of councils stating that they have no plans to increase the size of parking bays in major towns and cities across the country.

The five councils are Wokingham, South Hampshire, Broadland, South Suffolk, and West Devon.

Some of the popular vehicles that would be considered to big for standard bay parking spaces include Mercedes S-Class, Range Rovers, Tesla Model S, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, Rolls Royce Cullinan, and Kia EV9.

Many premium sports cars and SUVs are also far longer than five metres.

Data from This is Money revealed that the standard off-street parking length is an average of 4.8 metres.

The FOI request from Autocar was sent to every UK council in an effort to see if there were any future plans to expand parking bays, as many haven’t been updated in decades.

From the 1970s, the smallest spaces were measured at 2.5 metres wide and 4.8 metres long – however, vehicles have grown significantly over the last 50 years.

Most on-street parking is also significantly shorter and thinner than bay parking spaces.

  • Parent and child parking rules – everything you need to know
  • Parking guide – where you can and can’t park
  • Parking on the pavement – is it illegal?

Are cars getting bigger?

Research release by Transport & Environment (T&E) is January 2024 has shown that vehicles are getting 1cm wider every two years – meaning that they are unsuitable for many on and off street parking spaces.

T&E stated that this trend will continue due to the rising popularity of SUVs.

The average width of new cars expanded to 180.3cm in the first half of 2023, up from 177.8cm in 2018.

Also, data compiled by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) confirms the same trend in the two decades up to 2020.

New cars in the EU and Great Britain are subject to the same maximum width, 255 cm, as buses and trucks.

According to the T&E research, among the top 100 models in 2023, 52% of vehicles sold were too wide for the minimum specified on-street parking space (180cm) in major cities, including London, Paris and Rome.

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