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Councils’ surplus from parking charges rises 9%

The surplus produced from council parking operations in England rose 9% in 2015/16, reaching a record high.

Civil enforcement officer giving parking fine

The RAC Foundation says the local authority parking surplus hit a new high in 2015/16.

New figures released by the RAC Foundation show that in the last financial year, the 353 local authorities in England generated a combined ‘profit’ of £756m from their on- and off-street parking activities. This is up 9% on the 2014-15 figure of £693m, and 34% higher than in 2011-12.

The figures – analysed for the RAC Foundation by transport consultant David Leibling – are calculated by taking income from parking charges and penalty notices and then deducting running costs.

The RAC Foundation added that the overall rise in ‘profits’ is a combination of increasing income (4% up on the previous financial year) and decreasing costs (2% down on the previous financial year).

It also noted that not all individual councils made a large surplus on their parking activities, with 49 (14%) reporting negative numbers.

In response, Cllr Judith Blake, Transport spokesman at the Local Government Association – which represents councils in England and Wales, said: “Councils do not make a profit from parking.

“Income from on-street parking charges is spent on running parking services and surpluses are spent on essential transport projects, such as tackling the £12bn roads repair backlog, creating new parking spaces and providing subsidised bus travel for children or elderly residents.

“Councils are on the side of hard-pressed motorists, shoppers and businesses but have to try and strike a balance when setting parking charges to ensure there are spaces available for everyone at all times of the day and we can keep traffic moving.

“The growing demand for parking from traffic increases on our roads means parking services are playing an increasingly important role in reducing congestion and keeping pedestrians and motorists safe.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.