Camden Council makes £24m ‘profit’ from parking charges

Cllr Meric Apak

Cllr Meric Apak - Credit: Archant

Camden Council brought in a £24million surplus from parking charges last year.

Camden Council has made around £24m from parking charges Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA

Camden Council has made around £24m from parking charges Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

According to analysis by motoring charity RAC Foundation, the council had the third-highest “profits” in England as nationwide local authority surpluses grew from £667m in 2013/14 to £693m for 2014/15.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said the sums involved in parking charges are “huge”, adding that the “overall profits” are “eye-watering”.

“Once again the year-on-year direction of travel is upwards,” he said.

Mr Gooding added that the “temptation” for cash-strapped councils to use parking as a “fundraiser” must be strong, but warned against it.

He said: “When a parking profit is made the law states that, essentially, the money can only be spent on transport and environment projects. We are simply asking that all councils publish annual reports to tell drivers exactly where this huge excess ends up.

“The precarious financial state of many councils is a genuine concern, not least when it comes to the risk of a cut in road maintenance spending which will hit every one of us.

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“A funding solution requires national and local government to look beyond the high street parking meter.”

Camden Council’s cabinet member for sustainability and environment, however, shot down the notion his local authority makes money from the roads.

“It’s a common misconception that councils make money from parking services,” Cllr Meric Apak said.

“Legally this is not allowed and all money is ring-fenced for road improvements, concessionary travel for our vulnerable residents and transport schemes that will support our ambition to make Camden a greener, cleaner borough.”

Cllr Apak added that the council publishes a breakdown of how the money raised from parking charges is spent every year.

The council data show that of the £24.236m raised in 2014/15, the entire sum was spent on home to school transport, concessionary fares, freedom passes, the Taxicard scheme, highway improvement and highway maintenance.