Councils across England have generated a cash surplus of £565million from on and off-street parking charges between 2011-12, according to figures released by the RAC Foundation.
The figure is a £54million increase on the 2010-11 figures, with 86 per cent of the 359 different UK councils benefitting from parking ‘profits’.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given the more costly parking penalties imposed on motorists in the Capital, Westminster council tops the table for the biggest earners, making a £41.6million surplus in 2011-12. This represents a 20 per cent increase on the amount generated between 2009-10.
Of the top ten councils for income generated through parking charges, only two are outside London, with Brighton & Hove and Cornwall UA taking the sixth and eighth spots respectively.
Westminster council has disputed the published figures, but has stated that it will work with motorists to reduce fines, reported the BBC.
The vast funds amounted by councils have been revealed just days after a court ruled that London’s Barnet council had acted illegally in attempting to set parking charges to raise revenue in general, rather than as part of a traffic management scheme.
Commenting on the figures, Prof Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “For many local authorities, parking charges are a nice little earner, especially in the Capital.
“Not all authorities make big sums. Several run a current account deficit and indeed of those with surpluses many will see the money vanish when capital expenditure is taken into account.
“But the bottom line is that hundreds of millions of pounds are being contributed annually to council coffers through parking charges and the drivers who are paying them have a reasonable expectation to see the cash spent on improving the roads.
“In fact 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.”