Brent Council named as one the country’s top parking revenue raisers
- Credit: Archant
Motorists in the borough are one of the worst in England to be hit with parking charges according to figures released today.
A report by the RAC Foundation claims Brent Council raised £8.31million from their on and off-street charges in 2012/13 – the TENTH highest in the country.
The data, analysed for the RAC Foundation by transport consultant David Leibling, came from the statutory annual returns that councils made to the Department for Communities and Local Government.
The authority with the largest surplus in 2013/14 was previous table-topper Westminster with £51 million.
Professor Stephen Glaister, RAC Foundation director, said: “Parking profits seem to be a one-way street for councils, having risen annually for the last five years.
“Yet over the same period spending on local roads has fallen about a fifth in real terms.
“We understand the pressures councils are under with their overall income still falling and the level of services they have to provide in such areas as social care rising rapidly.”
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A report said that while some of the increase in surplus was down to rising income, there was also evidence that many councils were cutting operating costs sharply.
For England as a whole, councils’ operating costs for on-street parking dropped 10 per cent.
Professor Glaister added: “This suggests local authorities are making efficiency savings and should bring some good news to both drivers and council tax payers.
“The bottom line is that parking policy and charges must be about managing traffic not raising revenue.”
Peter Box, Local Government Association transport spokesman, denies claims that councils are targeting motorists.
He said: “This misleading RAC Foundation report is yet again based on the deep-rooted misconception that councils make a profit from parking. On-street parking revenue is spent on paying for parking services and any surplus is spent on essential transport projects.
“Councils are on the side of hard-pressed motorists.”
However Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, said: “These official figures show how town halls are committing daylight robbery by ripping off drivers with exorbitant parking charges and unfair parking fines.
“The recent growth in fines is coming from the industrial use of CCTV spy cars allowed under laws introduced by the last government. This is why we have introduced a law before Parliament to stop these snoopers, as part of package of measures to rein in the town hall parking bullies and protect local shops.”
Cllr George Crane, lead member for environment at Brent Council, said: “In London, with the high volume of traffic it is inevitable that councils will earn a surplus on parking charges. However, as set out in legislation, the surplus from on-street parking and from enforcement action can only be used to fund local transport related schemes. Last year, £2.5million was spent on traffic improvement schemes, over £2million on street lighting and £3.3 on environmental improvements.
“On-street charges are higher than in our car parks to provide motorists with an incentive to park off-street and ensure a quick turnover of spaces for visitors and shoppers.
“In respect of parking fines, the fact is that if nobody parked illegally then we wouldn’t have to carry out enforcement action.
“Parking charges are judged on the needs of town centres, local businesses and motorists and are almost always cheaper than private car parks and on-street parking. All revenue is put back into essential local services.”