Council parking charges income increased by nearly 15% in 2011/12 as town halls raised over £411m

Article on LocalGov website today: Councils receive parking charge boost.

Council income from parking charges increased by nearly 15% in 2011/12 as town halls raised over £411m, a report finds.

According to research from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), local authorities in England have raised earnings from parking charges by 27% since 2009/10 while spending on safety measures has decreased.

Westminster City Council was the top council earner from parking charges, raising £38m and increasing its income from parking charges by 8.7% on 2010/11 figures, the study finds.

Kensington and Chelsea BC earned £27.5m while Camden Council made £27.5m from parking charges in 2011/12, while outside of London, Brighton and Hove City Council increased earnings by 18.9% by raising £13.7m.

Figures from the IAM also find local authority expenditure on road safety, education and safe school routes decreased by 18% on 2010/11 figures.

Total revenue spending on highways and transport reduced by 6% on the previous year and capital expenditure – on measures including construction – shrunk by 13%, the report says.

IAM chief executive, Simon Best, said: ‘Councils are making record-breaking profits from parking, while cutting road safety spending on life-saving services such as, education for young drivers, cycle training, and safe routes to schools schemes.

‘At the same time cuts to road maintenance will mean a backlog of repairs which will simply cost more to fix in the long term.’

Westminster City Council cabinet member for business, Daniel Astaire, said: ‘Even if these figures were right, which they are not, Westminster’s parking surplus is spent entirely on improving roads, transport and infrastructure – for motorists that this group claims to represent.

‘Westminster must manage the kerb space properly so that it is accessible to residents, visitors and businesses, all of whom have competing needs to park in one of the busiest cities in the world.’

Local government minister Brandon Lewis said: ‘Income from on-street and off-street parking only rose by 3.7% in the last year, which is lower than the prevailing rate of inflation. The Institute have failed to adjust for fact that councils have cut costs through efficiency savings.’