Councils took in a record £756m from parking charges in 2015-16, generating almost 10% more revenue, new research from the RAC Foundation claims.
The surplus of parking revenue, all of which must by law be spent on local transport, was 9% higher than the £693m raised in the financial year 2014-15, and more than a third (34%) higher than in 2011-12.
Steve Gooding, director of RAC Foundation
Of the 353 local authorities in England, only 49 (14%) reported negative revenue numbers for parking, with the 33 London boroughs once again taking in the largest surpluses - £332m between them or 44% of the English total.
Westminster had the largest surplus in England of £55.9m, followed by Kensington & Chelsea (£34.2m) and Camden (£25.2m).
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: ‘These numbers might seem eye-wateringly large, but in part they reflect the growing competition for space in many of our towns and cities.
‘In 1995 there were only 21.4 million cars on Britain’s roads, today there are 30.7 million. Parking charges are one of the tools councils use to keep traffic moving whilst also allowing people reasonable and affordable access to high street shops and other facilities.
‘The good news is that any profit generated by councils from on-street parking must by law be spent on transport-related activities, and as every motorist knows there's no shortage of work that needs doing.’
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).
The figures - analysed for the RAC Foundation by transport consultant David Leibling - were calculated by taking income from parking charges and penalty notices and then deducting running costs and were based on data from the statutory annual returns councils provide government.
Table from the RAC Foundation