Councils cash in by doubling revenue from parking fees …

The Times, 13 April 2016, Graeme Paton, Transport Correspondent

Councils have almost doubled the money that they collect from householders to let them park outside their home.

A study by the RAC found that in some areas takings from residents’ parking fees had soared by 90 per cent over the past five years.

At least six in ten councils have some form of residential parking scheme, with an average of £59.17 levied on householders. Motorists in one area are charged £750 a year.

Many authorities also impose extra charges, including higher fees to park gas-guzzling cars, register more than one vehicle and to replace lost permits.

Simon Williams, RAC spokesman, said: “Residents without such schemes are often angered when they cannot park near their homes due to the influx of commuters, shoppers and visitors, but many are also annoyed that they have to pay the council for the privilege of being able to park close to their own house or flat.

“What can happen as more schemes are introduced is a domino effect where commuters end up trying to park in the next nearest location to their workplace, shifting the parking problem to another area.”

In the latest study, the RAC surveyed almost 1,800 motorists and obtained details of council receipts from permits using the Freedom of Information Act.

In London, Haringey council’s revenue rose by 90 per cent from just over £1 million in 2010-11 to £1.95 million in 2014-15. Over the same period it increased the number of parking schemes from 15 to 29.

Ealing council’s income rose by 84 per cent, from £938,988 to £1.73 million. Cambridgeshire county council recorded an 80 per cent rise from £254,328 to £458,387 while Carmarthenshire county council brought in an additional 70 per cent — from £31,820 to £53,935.

Some 61 per cent of motorists said that the system simply shifted parking problems to other parts of the borough. Only 17 per cent were actively opposed to the principle of charging if it meant that parking problems in their area could be solved.

A separate study in December found that councils collected a record £1.45 billion from parking tickets and permits last year. This left them with a £700 million surplus after the cost of running their parking services was removed. Councils are banned from using parking as a revenue-raising mechanism.

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