Car parking spaces in the UK to be widened

Parking bays to be made bigger to accommodate the growing number of SUVs, 4x4s and large family estate vehicles

Parking bays across the UK are set to be made wider in the future due to growing sales of SUVs, 4x4s and large family estate vehicles.

According to the UK’s biggest car park provider, National Car Parks (NCP), the increase in larger vehicles has led to a higher number of car park collisions. Figures released by Accident Exchange showed that car park related accidents had risen by over a third (35%) in the past two years.

Car parking bays to be widened to accommodate the growing number of SUVs, 4x4s and large estate cars

Parking bays to be widened to accommodate bigger cars such as SUVs © Copyright Peter Holmes and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Car parks in Bournemouth, Manchester and London have already seen the widening of parking bays because of the popularity of larger vehicles such as SUVs.
NCP have said they are widening car parking bays to enable ease of use for larger vehicles. At the moment, parking bays in the UK measure 4.8m long by 2.4m wide, a size which makes it a very tight fit for bigger vehicles such as the BMW X5 and the Mercedes’ GLS-Class to name but a few, whose overall body measurements are much longer and wider than the current car parking spaces allow for.

The Nissan Qashqai is currently one of the bestselling SUVs in the country and according to recent figures, almost one in three new vehicles sold in the UK is an SUV.
NCP do however recognise that by widening car parking spaces, the amount of bays are reduced and finding the right balance between catering for the larger vehicle, and risking the number of car parking spaces for all motorists, is one that needs careful consideration.

An NCP spokeswoman said: “We are moving towards making the bays wider as we recognise that vehicles are growing in size, especially SUVs. Going forward, it is our intention to provide bigger parking bays wherever possible to do so.”

According to Scott Hamilton-Cooper from Accident Exchange, many drivers believe that some car parks are now unusable because of the bigger length and width of their vehicle.

The new plans have not gone down so well with campaigners however, who think that widening parking bays is punishing those drivers who’ve chosen to purchase a smaller, more eco-friendly vehicle.

The chief scientist at Greenpeace UK, Doug Parr, believes that widening bays specifically for those with bigger vehicles is not the right way to go and that the UK transport infrastructure needs rethinking, to ensure that motorists who choose to purchase a car based on protecting our health and the environment are not the ones being punished but rewarded.

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