Councils rake in £500m from parking fines

Parking ticket

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."

Your Comments

Pity about the Headline.  The article refers to the parking charges levied, not to fines.  There has been much in the media in the last few days castigating councils for miss-use of 'fines' when in fact the councils have been confirming that the money from parking charges - perfectly fair, though expensive in some cases - has been used in perfectly legal ways for traffic and transport needs in their areas.