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Welsh council parking profits up for five consecutive years

Welsh council parking profits up for five consecutive years

Local authorities in Wales made a combined surplus of £14.4 million on their parking activities in the last financial year, according to an analysis for the RAC Foundation by David Leibling.

The figure for 2017/18 was 3% higher than the £14 million made in 2016/17. What’s more, the rise was the fifth consecutive annual increase.

Between them, the 22 councils in Wales had parking income of £38.5 million in 2017/18, 3% higher than in the previous year. The income includes on- and off-street parking charges and penalty charges.

Total expenditure on running parking activities was £24.1 million. Additionally, councils may incur interest payments or depreciation on their capital assets such as car parks, though that is not accounted for in the official figures.

The difference between income and expenditure gives the level of surplus (or ‘profit’). The data comes from the official returns councils make in a standardised format to the Welsh Government on an annual basis.

Looked at individually, 19 of the 22 councils showed individual surpluses. The biggest ‘profit’ was made by Cardiff (£3.87 million), followed by Swansea (£2.85 million) and then Gwynedd (£1.38 million).

Three councils reported losses on their parking activities: Blaenau Gwent (£453,000), Flintshire (£108,000), and Torfaen (£78,000). They were the same three which reported losses in the previous financial year.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “There are 1.54 million cars in Wales, up 40% in just two decades. Over the same period the number of vans has grown at an even greater rate - up 83% to 205,000.

“No wonder then that in many parts of the country road space is at a premium and is being charged for accordingly.

“Yet not all councils will be wanting to increase parking fees as a way of reducing traffic. Some will actively be seeking more visitors to boost local high streets clinging on to economic viability and helping make travel to these locations affordable is one way of doing it.”