Increasing car ownership leads to increasing Council parking surpluses

Local authority parking accounts come under scrutiny every year, and while figures quoted provide a sensational headline they don’t tell the true story of Councils parking management.

A Council’s parking income comes from a variety of places including fees and charges for using car parks, on-street parking and resident parking schemes. Income from Penalty Charges is also included in Council’s published figures. More cars on our roads and a greater demand for parking to be managed inevitably leads to more income being generated.

Why is it wrong for our local authorities and its parking management schemes to charge for parking?  I agree that £1Bn is a whopping sum, (Projected estimate of local authority parking accounts by RAC Foundation) but if drivers didn’t pay this, then the costs for providing and patrolling, managing and maintaining the parking facilities would have to be paid for by someone else.

There’s no such thing as free parking: someone, somewhere is paying for it. Who should pay?  Council taxpayers? Business Rate taxpayers? Councils are expected to invest to reduce congestion and pollution from cars, improve accessibility for everyone, including those with disabilities, and a parking surplus is used for all of this and more.

Kelvin Reynolds, BPA Director of Corporate and Public Affairs said “Those who only see a surplus rather than the significant investment into other community services - like public transport, concessionary fares and school buses, all of which helps to reduce congestion and pollution to benefit everyone - are hiding from the truth: Britain needs parking to be properly managed so that our towns and cities and the places where we live and work are accessible to all and not a free for all.”

Many councils provide parking annual reports to show parking surplus is spent. Why not uncover the true story of the impact of efficient and effective parking management where you live?