By Sarah Townsend
Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE top list of biggest parking offenders
Drivers from the Gulf collectively owe more than $500,000 of unpaid London parking fines, according to data released by Westminster City Council.
Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait feature in a list of the council’s top 10 worst parking offenders, with Qatar ranked second on the list after France having racked up a cumulative £191,105 ($255,575) of unpaid fines.
Drivers from the UAE owe a total of £116,030 ($155,173) to Westminster City Council, it claimed, while those from Saudi Arabia owe £64,065 ($85,680) and Kuwait owe £55,530 ($74,258).
Westminster is a central London borough that has some of the most expensive residential property in the UK capital. The upmarket neighbourhoods of Mayfair, Belgravia and Marylebone – favoured by GCC investors as London real estate heartlands – all sit within Westminster.
The council said that foreign drivers had racked up more than £1 million ($1.33 million) in parking fines in total, with drivers from France accounted for the highest amount of unpaid bills, at £356,000 ($476,234).
Romania, Germany, Belgium and Bulgaria and Ireland also featured in the list.
Westminster City Council said in a statement that it works with embassies and organisations abroad to try and make drivers pay up.
The council is in the early stages of trialling a process of obtaining a judgment in the UK against persistent foreign evaders of parking fines, with the potential to transfer proceedings abroad.
It noted that it can be difficult to contact vehicle owners abroad and siad the council is calling on the UK Government to establish a system of international co-operation to allow local authorities to trace foreign motorists.
Danny Chalkley, cabinet member for City Highways at Westminster, said: “We gladly welcome visitors from abroad who wish to visit our iconic roads and landmarks.
“However, drivers who park irresponsibly are a nuisance for our residents and visitors alike. This should be a reminder that a foreign number plate does not give you immunity from the law.
“We are committed to ensuring those who break the rules are forced to pay up.”