Foreign diplomats run up more than £1 million in unpaid parking fees in central London last year according to new figures released by Westminster Council.
The borough says than 60 per cent of embassy-owned cars have failed to pay for tickets issued for parking illegally and has labelled a Kazakhstan diplomat who owes £53,820 for 471 tickets, the “most prolific offender”.
The Kazakhstan embassy tops the council’s list of the worst 20 offending embassies with its vehicles owing more than £189,640 in fines generated from 1,715 unpaid tickets. Second place is taken by the Sudanese embassy which has incurred £108,240 in fines for 1,005 unpaid tickets.
Afghanistan, China and Saudi Arabia make up the rest of the top five and between them owe £207,100 from almost 2,000 unpaid tickets. Other offending cars are registered to the Cyprian, Turkish, French and UAE embassies.
Every year the council issues foreign embassies located in the borough a bill for any outstanding parking fines. Officials say that although some missions pay, figures for 2010 show that 100 embassies still have outstanding bills.
The council says has accused those who refuse to pay of exploiting their immunity from prosecution.
Cllr Lee Rowley, Westminster City Council’s cabinet member for parking, said: “All motorists who break traffic rules should be subject to the same penalties, regardless of their citizenship, nationality or job title.
“It’s time these offending diplomats started to respect the rules and regulations of the UK and pay their parking tickets like everyone else.”