Over-zealous parking wardens and an aggressive enforcement culture are damaging high streets and local shops, secretary of state for local government Eric Pickles has claimed.

Speaking at the National Conservative Convention earlier this week, Pickles said urgent changes to parking enforcement were needed to protect local shops, which were being “killed off” by the “rigid state orthodoxy of persecuting motorists out of their cars.”

“A big part of what defines our communities is local high streets, shopping parades and local corner shops,” he said. “13 years of Labour’s war on the motorist have created an over-zealous culture of parking enforcement. Extending CCTV, not to catch criminals, but to catch you out the moment you park on a yellow line.”

Pickles called on councils to allow more off-street parking spaces, and end “dodgy town hall contracts” which rewarded and encouraged the proliferation of fixed penalty notices.

“I believe we need to give people the good grace to pop into a local corner shop for 10 minutes, to buy a newspaper or a loaf of bread without risking a £70 fine,”he added.

According to a recent survey by price comparison website Confused.com, the cost of parking in public car parks jumped by 12.5% between 2011/2012. More than 65% of the 2,000 respondents said the price of parking was a key factor in deciding where to shop, while 65% said the cost of parking was putting them off local shopping.