Councils across England have pulled in £930 million in parking fines and charges during the last year, an increase of seven percent on the previous 12 months.
According to new figures from the RAC Foundation, councils turned over £1.746 billion from their parking operations in 2018–19. This included £454 million from penalties, six per cent higher than it was in the previous year.
Westminster council made the most from its motorists though, followed by Kensington & Chelsea, Wandsworth and Hammersmith & Fulham and Brighton & Hove.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation said that despite the huge numbers “what will surprise drivers that even as parking income soars, the amount of money being spent on routine road maintenance by councils has been in reverse”.
A council’s defence
However, councils at the top of the list insist the money is reinvested in a range of transport schemes.
Speaking to i, a Westminster City Council spokesperson said: “With over a million daily visitors and many of the country’s biggest attractions, it would be a surprise if Westminster wasn’t at the top of the list.
“All of the money we raise through parking is reinvested in transport schemes including green schemes like our diesel surcharge – which has led to a 16 per cent reduction in older diesel vehicles entering the city.
The national statistics, which show an increase of 41 per cent on the 2013/14 figures, also don’t include interest payments or depreciation on any capital assets such as car parks, as these are not accounted for in official data. As a result, the surplus could be overstated.
Read more: How to appeal a parking ticket
“The trouble is that councils are strapped for cash and motorist are an easy target,” Hugh Bladon, one of the founding members of the Alliance of British Drivers told i. “Whatever you do, you’re bound to make a transgression of some sort.”
While he stressed that he had no sympathy for motorists who deliberately overstayed in car parks, he insisted motorists were getting “a raw deal”.
“[It’s] making it more and more difficult to get into town and do what you want to do, and that adds to the problems of the high street, and they’re making problems worse. It’s a double whammy in a way.”
Currently, council owned car parks are forced to give users a 10-minute grace period before fining them, with MPs hoping to make the changes compulsory for private carparks too.
Of the 353 councils who returned parking figures to central government, only 41 reported a loss on their parking operations.
The councils making the most profit from parking fines and charges
Westminster – £69.2 million
Kensington & Chelsea – £37.2 million
Wandsworth – £26.3 million
Hammersmith & Fulham – £26 million
Brighton & Hove – £26 million