English councils made a record £819m from their parking operations in the last financial year, a new RAC report finds.
The 2016-17 figure is 10% higher than the £744m made in the previous financial year and is £37m above what councils forecast for last year.
The RAC Foundation report found most councils made a profit on their parking operations.
The largest surpluses were seen in London with the 33 London boroughs making £379m between them – 46% of the English total.
Westminster had the largest surplus in England at £73.2m, up 31% on the previous year. Kensington & Chelsea came second with £32.2m (down 6%) and Camden with £26.8m (up 6%).
The biggest profits outside of London were reported by Brighton & Hove (£21.2m), and Milton Keynes and Birmingham (£11.1m each).
Around 13% of councils reported making a loss.
‘The upward path in profits is in part a reflection of the record number of cars and volume of traffic,’ said Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation.
‘The silver lining for drivers is that these surpluses must almost exclusively be ploughed back into transport and as any motorist will tell you there is no shortage of work to be done.
‘We welcome the fact that councils are increasingly investing in technology to help make parking easier and less stressful.’
‘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,’ he added.
Responding to the report, Cllr Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Transport spokesman said: ‘As the RAC Foundation highlights, income raised through on-street parking charges is spent on running parking services and any surplus is only spent on essential transport projects, such as tackling our national £12bn roads repair backlog and creating new parking spaces.
‘Councils are on the side of motorists but have to try and strike a balance when setting parking charges to ensure there are spaces available for everyone at all times of the day and they can keep traffic moving.
‘They help not only keep the roads clear but keeps pedestrians, motorists and cyclists safe and ensures people can park near their homes and local shops.’