RAC Cars News


Record Parking Profits For Local Authorities

By raccars Published

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Local councils are being slammed for a £667 million revenue surplus earned through camera armed spy cars. Parking profits increased by 12% over the previous year.

The £667 million was earned via on and off street parking, nearly half of which was obtained in London boroughs. Local authorities earned £594 million through parking in 2012/2013. Not all councils are posting a large profit surplus, but only 16%, or 55 out of 353 parking authorities, posted losses.

The figures were released by the RAC Foundation and were criticised by the communities secretary, Eric Pickles, who called parking charges 'exorbitant' and fines 'unfair'. It's not the first time he has come down hard on local authorities' parking policies and has blamed the increase on CCTV spy cars. A bill is currently making its way through Parliament to prevent the use of camera cars.

The RAC Foundation sent data from the Department for Communities and Local Government's statutory annual returns from councils to David Leibling, a transport consultant, for analysis.

Not only is income from parking charges and fines up for local authorities but so is profit, with operating costs down by 10% on average for on-street parking. Once again, Westminster is the biggest earner with a parking profit of £51 million, compared to £39.7 million last year, with London boroughs taking every place in the top ten highest earners, apart from Brighton and Hove and Nottingham. Kensington and Chelsea council earned the second biggest profit, with £33.51 million, followed by Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham then Wandsworth.

A spokesperson for Westminster City Council claimed that its rise in parking profit was down to the massive demand for parking in the borough, with 600,000 vehicles driving through daily, and that the money was destined for parking services and other transport projects. Parking officers in Westminster have apparently also undergone training, to make sure they try to assist drivers before inflicting penalties.

While parking profits have increased annually over the past five years, expenditure on local roads has gone down by about 20%. However, a large part of this year's rise in profits was due to lower running costs rather than higher income from parking charges and penalties, suggesting that more efficient councils could pass on future savings to drivers. Furthermore, DVLA increases profits from selling driver details.

A spokesperson for transport for the Local Government Association claimed that the RAC Foundation's report was 'misleading' and failed to detail how parking fee surplus is destined for essential transport network projects.

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