Scottish councils make £40m from parking charges

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Media captionScotland's councils make £40m from parking charges

Scottish local authorities have been making £40m annually from parking charges, according to figures from the RAC Foundation.

The motoring organisation said the councils took £79.3m from drivers in charges and penalties.

The £40m represents the surplus after the cost of running parking activities.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) said parking charges were "rightly and properly" a matter for councils to decide.

The figures covered the financial year 2015-16. The surplus is up 12% on the previous year.

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

The top-earning councils identified by the foundation were:

  • Edinburgh, with a surplus of £19.4m
  • Glasgow, with £12.6m
  • Aberdeen, with £4.9m

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding 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 reinvested in transport services including, Scottish drivers will expect, maintaining the road network."

A spokeswoman for City of Edinburgh Council said: "Funds from parking income are reinvested in road maintenance and other transport infrastructure across Edinburgh.

"Charges for permits and on-street parking are important for reducing pressure on limited kerbside space and keeping our roads clear and accessible.

"Parking charges also help businesses, residents and their visitors by encouraging a frequent turnaround of spaces, as well as deterring all-day parking."

Cosla insisted councils were well placed to decide an appropriate level of charges.

A spokesman said: "What councils charge for parking is rightly and properly a matter for them to determine locally, based on local circumstances.

"Scotland's councils have to actively manage parking in a way that balances both keeping the traffic flow moving round an area as well as allowing access to businesses in a bid to support local shopping.

"If you park illegally you are committing an offence and penalties only apply to people who commit an offence."

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