According to RAC Foundation for motoring, Westminster Council maintained its top position with surplus profits (£46.4 million) for the 5th year running – although this was 9% down on the previous year (£51 million).
The data, analysed for the RAC Foundation by transport consultant David Leibling, comes from the annual returns that councils make to the Department for Communities and Local Government each year.
English local authority councils generated over £1,400 million in turnover this year.
In 2014/15 local authorities made a profit of nearly £700 million from their day-to-day, on and off street parking operations.
This was a 4% increase on the 2013/14 amount of £667 to £693 million.
The London authorities were the highest income generators – £308 million (44%) of the overall surplus total was generated by councils in London – with only Brighton & Hove, and Nottingham breaking into the top ten.
The top five London councils (Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, Camden, Hammersmith & Fulham and Wandsworth) account for almost half the total surpluses for London.
London boroughs top revenue generators from parking fines:
Data Source: racfoundation.org
Cllr Heather Acton, Westminster City Council cabinet member for parking said: “Parking surplus is ploughed back into roads and transport projects that benefit people living in, working in, and visiting central London – for example, only this week we have launched a ground-breaking bay sensor trial to protect disabled spaces for those that really need them.”
“We’ve also recently abolished traffic wardens, moving to a traffic marshals system that gives personal advice to motorists when they park incorrectly, resulting in people getting fewer fines.
“To be clear, we don’t want to give out fines, which is why we are the only council in Europe to have a parking app to show people where parking spaces are available in real-time on your mobile phone. But if people don’t obey the rules and don’t listen to our marshals or use the technology, we are often left with very little option.
“The reality is that 600,000 cars come into central London on average every day, and we have to keep the roads of Westminster moving.”
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation said:
“It is unsurprising that London leads the way in making money. Its roads are 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.
“The precarious financial state of many councils is a genuine concern, not least when it comes to the risk of a cut in road maintenance spending which will hit every one of us. A funding solution requires national and local government to look beyond the High Street parking meter.”
Local authorities are also obliged to provide the government with an estimate of the surplus or deficit they expect to have at the end of the current financial year.
This suggests the surplus figure for 2015/16 in England will be £687 million.