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Councils make record £700m surplus from parking charges, report says

Study says council raked in record £700m profit from parking charges. Credit: PA

Councils in England made a record surplus from parking charges of almost £700m last year, according to a new study.

Research from the RAC Foundation found local authorities made £693 million after running costs were removed in 2014/15 - up £667m on the year before.

But the Local Government Association (LGA) described the report as "misleading" saying any extra money is spent on transport projects. The RAC Foundation has urged more transparency over "exactly where this huge excess ends up".

The organisation analysed parking data in financial reports from English councils.

The councils with the 10 largest parking surpluses, according to the RAC Foundation are listed below.

  • Westminster £46.4 million
  • Kensington and Chelsea £33 million
  • Camden £24.5 million
  • Hammersmith and Fulham £23.8 million
  • Wandsworth £20.4 million
  • Brighton and Hove £18.6 million
  • Haringey £16.1 million
  • Islington £13.7 million
  • Nottingham City £13.3 million
  • Hackney £10.8 million

The financial sums involved in local authority parking are huge and the overall profits eye-watering. Once again the year-on-year direction of travel is upwards. It is unsurprising that London leads the way in making money. Its roads are most congested and the pressure on road space immense. When a parking profit is made the law states that, essentially, the money can only be spent on transport and environment projects. We are simply asking that all councils publish annual reports to tell drivers exactly where this huge excess ends up.

– Steve Gooding, RAC Foundation director

A spokesman for the LGA said the report was "inaccurate adding: "Councils are on the side of hard-pressed motorists."

This is a wholly inaccurate and misleading report, which peddles the myth that councils make a profit from parking.

The reality is, income is spent on running parking services and any surplus is only spent on essential transport projects, such as tackling the £12 billion roads repair backlog and creating new parking spaces.

– LGA environment spokesman