Council parking report25 Nov 2009


RAC Foundation responds to The Taxpayers’ Alliance research.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance has today (25) published research detailing the income from parking enforcement collected by all UK councils. Although the figures point to an overall fall in income from parking fines compared to 2007-08 figures, there are still many local authorities where income, even in a recession, has actually risen. Six of the ‘top earners’ are rated as 4 star councils by the Audit Commission and so can spend surpluses from parking fines in any way they wish. In areas without 4 star rating, surplus income from parking enforcement is ring fenced for local transportation and environmental improvements.

The RAC Foundation believes that where income has actually risen from parking fines, councils should investigate why. Parking rules and regulations should be clear to motorists: areas that yield large numbers of tickets indicate this is not always the case.

Professor Stephen Glaister, RAC Foundation Director, responding to the research findings, said, ‘By actively discouraging people from accessing their nearest shops and services by car, local authorities risk undermining their own local economies in the long term. Councils should look more creatively at ways to accommodate motorists who want to support their community and do not want to drive to large out of town shopping malls. Park and ride schemes could be used more widely and the supply of short term car parking spaces increased.’

Professor Glaister added that, ‘Many local authorities confuse congestion and pollution. Both problems need to be addressed; but as cars get greener and quieter they will remain an efficient way for people to shop and access services in their local areas. In the meantime, local authorities should plan for the potential offered by the car and its passengers to the local economy: not for the short term gain from parking fines.’



The full report by The Taxpayers Alliance can be viewed here.