Drivers of cars registered abroad have racked up more than £750,000 in unpaid Brighton and Hove parking fines, new figures reveal.
Councils across the UK have been forced to write off millions of pounds in fines as it is so difficult to trace cars registered abroad.
And it’s not just tourists – cloned or stolen foreign numberplates allow criminals to dodge the law.
A poll by the Local Government Association (LGA) revealed one in every fifty tickets issued in Brighton and Hove is to a vehicle registered overseas.
Foreign vehicles only have to register with the DVLA when they have been here for six months. The LGA is calling on the Government to log foreign vehicles entering and exiting the UK and crack down on those who fail to register after this deadline.
Cllr Peter Box, Chair of the LGA’s Economy and Transport Board, said: “Drivers of foreign-registered vehicles need to realise they are not above the law in this country.
“Too many are blatantly disregarding thousands of fines for parking every year in this country which is hugely unfair to drivers of British cars who have to pay up if they break the law.
“Reckless and inconsiderate parking by non-UK registered vehicles puts other drivers and pedestrians at risk.
“The millions of pounds worth of fines written off could also be spent filling potholes, providing bus services and tackling the £12 billion repair backlog to bring our roads up to scratch.
“EU limits allowing foreign-registered cars to drive on our roads for six months before registering are arguably too long.
“However, the fact the Government isn’t actually tracking cars coming in and out of the country and is unaware how many exceed the deadline makes this largely irrelevant.
“Introducing a central database would allow the Government to get tougher on people failing to register their vehicle. A crackdown on those trying to cheat the system would see a greater number registered to UK addresses and councils finally able chase payment of some of these outstanding parking fines.”
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “We are aware of the issue of foreign vehicles failing to register if they have been in the UK for longer than six months.
“Discussions are currently ongoing across government to identify ways of improving the flow of information between agencies in order to tackle this problem and we hope to announce firm plans shortly.
“Drivers from EU member states are allowed to drive here for up to six months in an 12-month period before registering with the DVLA, just as British drivers can abroad.”