MALVERN Hills District Council made almost £300,000 profit from pay and display parking charges and fines in the last financial year, new figures have revealed.
The statistics from the RAC Foundation found the revenue generated was almost 500 per cent up on the same figure last year (£49,000).
Chiefs at the district council told the Observer that the £289,000 made this year would be put into supporting the authority’s budget and to keep council tax bills among the lowest in the country.
Coun Bronwen Behan, portfolio holder for the environment including car parking at Malvern Hills District Council, said: “We do not charge for on-street parking.
“We do issue penalty charge notices to ensure the traffic through our town centres continues to flow as smoothly as possible but we make no money on these as all income covers the cost of running the service.
“In terms of our pay and display car parks we make an average surplus of £60,000 a year.”
She added that at 50p an hour, parking charges within the district were the cheapest in Worcestershire and there were no plans to increase them.
Nationally, English councils made a record £819million from their parking charges and fines, ten per cent higher than the £744million made in the previous financial year.
And Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said the upward path in profits reflected the record number of cars and volume of traffic on Britain’s roads.
However, he stressed that the ‘silver lining’ for drivers was that the profits must ‘almost exclusively’ be ploughed back into transport services.
“We welcome the fact that councils are increasingly investing in technology to help make parking easier and less stressful,” he said.
“Westminster, for example, has created an app which directs drivers to free parking bays, helping to end the motoring misery of prowling the streets looking for a space.
“We urge motorists to take the time to read their own local authority’s parking report so they can see both the rationale for charges in their area and how the surplus is being spent.”
But Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, hit out at the latest figures, stating the rising charges made by councils were ‘continuing to burden’ drivers across the country.
“Our own research shows that the average driver will rack up almost £10,000 worth of parking charges and fines over a 25-year period – £6,952 of which is spent on car park fees alone,” she said.
“Drivers who are fed up with hefty parking charges can avoid this by booking parking in advance and shopping around for the cheapest spaces.
“Those who feel a parking ticket has been issued unfairly should proceed to challenge it, and report any unclear parking signs to the local council to avoid future confusion.”
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