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Councils rake in £700m from parking activities in 2015

Date: 11 December 2015   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

Councils in England have made a £700m surplus from their parking activities in 2014/15, it has been revealed.

According to RAC Foundation research, councils raked in £693m from their day-to-day on and off-street parking operations, a 4% increase on the 2013/14 amount of £667m.

Not all councils made money from their parking activities; though 57 of the 353 local authorities in England reported negative numbers.

The figures are calculated by taking income from parking charges and penalty notices, then deducting running costs.

The rise in profits is accounted for by an increase in parking income rather than a reduction in running costs, which were in line with the previous financial year, the RAC said.

Westminster Council topped the list in earnings, with a £46.4m surplus - which is down by 9% compared with last year - followed by Kensington and Chelsea (£33.0m), Camden (£24.5m), Hammersmith and Fulham (£23.8m) and Wandsworth councils (£20.4m).

Brighton and Hove and Nottingham City Councils are the only non-London councils to break into the top 10, with surpluses of £18.6m and £13.3m respectively.

"The financial sums involved in local authority parking are huge and the overall profits eye-watering. And once again the year-on-year direction of travel is upwards," said Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation.

"It is unsurprising that London leads the way in making money. Its roads are the most congested and the pressure on road space immense."

"The legal position is that parking charges are to be used as a tool for managing traffic. But with local Government budgets under ever-greater pressure the temptation to see them as a fund-raiser must be intense," he added.