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Councils rake in £900m surplus from parking

Published 13 July 2018

Councils in England are on course to make a joint surplus of almost £900 million from parking operations over the current financial year, according to research by the RAC Foundation.

The official figures supplied by 354 local authorities (including Transport for London) forecast that they are on course to generate a combined ‘profit’ of £885 million in 2018-19 - a 13 per cent rise on the £786 million generated in 2017-18, although the final outturn for last year's figures are still being calculated.

>>>Everything you need to know about your parking rights

The RAC Foundation believes that the forecasted £885 million is likely to be a significant underestimate, with the actual surplus figure for parking operations for 2016-17 being £819 million, far ahead of the £747 million councils had themselves predicted.

The local authority predicting the largest surplus is Westminster in London, with the city council expected to make a bumper £78.7 million

The figures – supplied by the councils to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government – show that only 50 of the 354 authorities are expected to make a loss from parking.

The local authority predicting the largest surplus is Westminster in London, with the city council expected to make a bumper £78.7 million in 2018-19.

Outside London, Brighton and Hove tops the table with an operations surplus of £21 million, which is half a per cent higher than the £20.9 million that was received in 2017-18. Birmingham has the second highest predicted surplus with £12.3 million, while Milton Keynes is third with £11.9 million.

The surpluses does not take into account any charges - either for new car parks or interest and depreciation on existing car parks - that local authorities might incur.

In addition to parking, councils also made a surplus of £19 million in 2016-17 from bus lane enforcement compared with £6 million the year before. The figure for 2018-19 is expected to be much higher with a prediction of £35 million.

Councils with the highest parking operations surplus outside London

Local authority

2017-18 budget surplus  2018-19 budget surplus 
Brighton & Hove  £20.9m  £21.0m 
Birmingham  £11.6m  £12.3m 
Milton Keynes  £13.2  £11.9m 


Cornwall  £9.5m  £10.6m 
Bournemouth  £7.2m  £8.2m 
Newcastle upon Tyne  £8.2m £7.8m 
Leeds  £7.9m  £7.6m 
Manchester  £6.9m  £6.9m 

Bath & North-East Somerset 

£6.5m £6.9m 
Southend-on-Sea  £5.8m £6.4m
Oxford  £3.3m  £6.2m
Medway Towns £6.0m  £6.2m 
Canterbury  £4.9m  £6.0m 
Guildford  £6.7m  £6.0m 
Windsor & Maidenhead  £5.1m £5.9m
Cambridge  £5.5m  £5.8m 
Exeter  £4.6m  £5.7m 
York  £5.5m  £5.5m 
Woking  £5.2m  £5.4m


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