Councils rake in £500m from parking fines
Local councils across England have been criticised by a motoring charity after raking in half a billion pounds from parking charges.
In 2011-2012, councils made a surplus of £565 million from on- and off-street parking, an increase of £54 million on 2010-2011's figure, according to the RAC Foundation.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "Hundreds of millions of pounds are being contributed annually to council coffers through parking charges and the drivers who are paying them a reasonable expectation to see the cash spent on improving the roads."
The councils with the biggest surpluses were in London, with Westminster making £41.6 million from parking charges in 2011-2012. London boroughs dominated the list, with Kensington & Chelsea, Camden, Hammersmith & Fulham, and Wandsworth, filling out the top five.
Of the ten councils that made the most from parking charges, only two were not from London: Brighton & Hove and Cornwall.
The research also highlighted which councils saw the biggest percentage increases from parking charges, with Newham, which hosted the Olympics last year, seeing a rise of 306% in parking surplus since 2009/2010.
The report said that even where there wasn't huge "profits", only 14% of councils ran a deficit went it came to parking operations.
Last week, Barnet Council was found to have acted illegally in trying to set charges to raise general revenue.
Glaister added: "It is enshrined in law – as underlined by the Barnet case last week – that profits gained from on-street charges and penalties must be ploughed back into a very limited number of things including maintaining the roads."