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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Councils' parking "profits" highlighted

* The Market Street council car park.
Local authorities in Wales made a combined surplus – or ‘profit’ - of £13.8 million on their parking activities in the last financial year. 
The figure for 2015-16 was a 14% increase on the £12.1 million surplus made in 2014-15.

Between them, the 22 councils in Wales had parking income of £35.8 million in 2015-16, a rise of 5.6% on the previous financial year. Income includes on- and off-street parking charges and penalty charges.
However, Denbighshire’s surplus for 2015-16 of £458,000 was down 5% on the previous financial year’s £484,000.

Total expenditure on running parking activities was £22 million, a 0.9% increase on the previous financial year.
The total surplus is the difference between the income and expenditure figures.

The rise in surplus is the third annual increase in a row and a 60% increase on the figure for 2012-13 (£8.6 million).
The data analysed by the RAC Foundation comes from the official returns made in a standardised format to the Welsh Government on an annual basis. 

Looked at individually, 19 of the 22 councils showed surpluses.
The biggest ‘profit’ was made by Cardiff (£3.5 million), followed by Swansea (£2.4 million) and then Gwynedd (£1.4 million).

Three councils reported losses on their parking activities: Flintshire (£423,000), Blaenau Gwent (£310,000) and Torfaen (£81,000).
The most ‘efficient’ council was Monmouthshire where the ratio of income (£1.42 million) to expenditure (£490,000) was 2.9.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Overall council parking profits in Wales are up sharply again this year, possibly reflecting a recovering economy with people using their cars more.
“It is important that the surplus is ploughed back into transport projects – there are plenty on Welsh motorists’ wish-lists, not least the ongoing campaign to tackle potholes. 

“Some cash could also go towards providing and maintaining off-street car parks, so that they are seen by drivers as a safe and convenient alternative to finding space at the kerbside. 
“While we don’t want our towns and cities dominated by the car, we must remember how dependent many people still are on them. In several areas of Wales – including Blaenau Gwent, Neath Port Talbot and Torfaen – more than 80% of those in employment rely on the car to get to work, some of the highest proportions in Britain.”

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