Three south west London councils have pocketed an ‘eye watering profit’ of £77.2million from their parking activities in 2014/2015.
Kensington & Chelsea made £33million, Hammersmith & Fulham made £23.8million and Wandsworth made £20.4million from day-to-day on and off-street parking operations according to an RAC Foundation report.
The rise in profits is accounted for by an increase in parking income rather than a reduction in running costs (which were in line with the previous financial year).
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “The financial sums involved in local authority parking are huge and the overall profits eye-watering.
“And 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.
“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.
“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.”
LGA Environment spokesman Cllr Peter Box has rubbished the findings claiming that they don’t take into account a number of factors.
He said: “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 surpluses are spent on essential transport projects, such as tackling the £12 billion roads repair backlog and creating new parking spaces.
“Councils are on the side of hard-pressed motorists. The average motorist is paying 30 times more to Whitehall in charges and taxation each year than they do to their town hall through parking.”
Picture courtesy of James Mitchell, with thanks