The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has released figures which put London councils at the top of the parking charge earnings list, while highlighting cuts in road safety spending.
The second least surprising thing about the report was the boroughs involved:
Westminster - up 8.7% to £38m from 2010/2011.
Kensington & Chelsea - up 31% to £27.5m.
Camden - up 18% to £5m.
Havering also deserves a mention for the biggest increase — the east London borough raised £597,000, an increase of a whopping 186%. Readers may remember that last year, Camden scooped the prize for the most parking fines issued in one street (Southampton Row), while a row over scrapping of evening and weekend charges is said to have cost former Westminster council leader Colin Barrow his job. Westminster’s Labour head Paul Dimoldenberg said;
“Westminster Conservatives have been using the £50 million a year profit it makes on parking to subsidise the council tax for decades. In effect, motorists are subsiding Westminster residents and the council’s finances are dependent on motorists breaking the law and getting fines.”
Leaving aside the semantics — to the councils it's a 'surplus' while to everyone else it's a 'profit' — the IAM say that spending on road safety, education and safe routes to schools decreased by 18%, from £127.5m to £105m across the UK. Westminster countered that the IAM's figures are wrong, don't take into account the high level of retail and entertainment visitors, and any surplus is spent on improving roads, transport and infrastructure. IAM chief executive Simon Best said;
“Some London councils are making enormous profits from parking, while cutting road safety spending on life-saving services such as rehabilitation courses for motoring offenders, education for young drivers and safe routes to schools schemes."
Last year, Knightsbridge was revealed to have the most expensive parking in London.
Photo by R4vi in the Londonist Flickr pool.