Council parking surplus nears £1bn as road spending falls


New research has revealed English councils made £930m from parking activities last year.

The RAC foundation said the 353 local authorities in England received total income of £1.746bn from their on and off-street parking operations in 2018-19 while spending £816m on running parking.

The resulting surplus of £930m is up 7% on the equivalent figure of £867m for 2017-18 and up 41% on the £658m surplus in 2013-14.

The 2018/19 income included £454m from penalties, which was 6% higher than the £428m in the previous financial year.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: ‘Penalties now seem to account for nearly half of all on-street parking income.

‘What will surprise drivers is that even as parking income soars, the amount of money being spent on routine road maintenance by councils has been in reverse.’

Mr Gooding conceded that because the official numbers exclude the cost of servicing parking-related capital investment funded from borrowing, the surplus costs could be overstated for some councils.

Cllr David Renard, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, said: ‘Any income raised through on-street parking charges and fines is spent on running parking services and any surplus is only spent on essential transport projects, such as filling potholes, supporting concessionary bus fares to help reduce congestion and other local transport projects that benefit high streets and local economies.’

Source: RAC Foundation

The analysis leaves out the £9.7m generated in Nottingham from the workplace parking levy and excludes the six national parks.

Of the 353 councils who returned parking figures to central government, only 41 reported a loss on their parking operations.

As in previous years, the largest profits are being made by councils in London.

English council parking surplus in 2018/19 ranked by size of surplus (top 25)

Westminster £69m

Kensington & Chelsea £37m

Wandsworth £26m

Hammersmith & Fulham £26m

Brighton & Hove £26m

Camden £26m

Islington £23m

Haringey £18m

Lambeth £16m

Hackney £15m

Newham £14m

City of London £14m

Barnet £14m

Birmingham £14m

Hounslow £13m

Ealing £13m

Merton £12m

Milton Keynes £12m

Tower Hamlets £12m

Brent £11m

Croydon £11m

Bristol £10m

Cornwall £10m

Manchester £10m

Waltham Forest £9m     

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