£79m car parking income for Scots councils

Local authorities in Scotland made a £40.3 million profit on £79.3 million of income from their car parking charges and penalties in 2015-16, according to research by the RAC Foundation.

This profit was 12% higher than in the 2014-15 financial year when a £36.1 million profit was reported.

Data analysed for the RAC Foundation showed that between them, the 32 councils had a combined income from their parking activities — charges and penalty income from on-street and off-street parking — of £79.3 million.

The combined cost for councils of running their parking activities was £39 million.

The difference between income and expenditure was a surplus of £40.3 million.

Once again, Edinburgh had the largest surplus at £19.4 million, up from £17.4 million in 2014-15.

It was followed by Glasgow at £12.6 million, up from £11.4 million in 2014-15.

Aberdeen had the third largest surplus at £4.9 million, up from £4.5 million in 2014-15.

These three local authorities generated 91% of the total net surplus in Scotland.

Of the 32 councils in Scotland:

  • 15 showed a surplus
  • 2 made neither a deficit nor a surplus
  • 13 showed a deficit
  • 2 did not provide parking accounts

The analysis was carried out for the RAC Foundation by David Leibling.

The data came from local authorities’ annual returns to the Scottish government.

“These official parking income figures are not broken down into their constituent parts and do not show how much is derived from penalty charge notices (PCNs) issued by councils,” said the RAC Foundation.

“However, a December 2016 report by the Scottish Parliament Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee put the number of parking tickets (PCNs) issued in Scotland in 2015-16 at 466,000 – creating an income of £14.74 million – broadly in line with the previous year when 457,000 PCNs were issued.”

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Providing and managing the space for us to park our cars is not a cost-free activity for councils, but controlling those costs is clearly important.

“By keeping the bills down and seeing a rise in parking income there has been a significant increase in the annual surplus, or profit, councils are making from parking activities.

“The good news is that this money must be re-invested in transport services including, Scottish drivers will expect, maintaining the road network.

“Amongst the numbers in our report, Scottish motorists will note that a fifth of parking income comes from the near half a million penalty charge notices issued.”