March 8 2014 Latest news:
Monday, January 6, 2014
An £8million pound surplus was raked in by Islington Council through parking fines in 2012-13.
Figures released by the RAC Foundation show the borough’s excess to be the seventh largest in London over the period and 10th in England.
The £8.21m the town hall made through fines is up from £5.6m in 2010-11 when Islington was ninth in London.
The figures were calculated by adding up income from parking charges and penalty notices and deducting running costs – with a £594m surplus across the whole of the country.
Islington Council said that the large surplus was due to greater efficiency and that all the money left over went in to making the roads safer.
It comes after Communities Secretary Eric Pickles attacked local authorities earlier this year for abusing the system.
“We are worried that what is happening in local authorities is they are using parking fines as a kind of a cash cow from motorists. The legislation is very clear, you cannot do so,” he said.
“It’s kind of the easy answer to say ‘it’s all to protect the children’, but local authorities are running seminars about maximising their income on parking fines.”
In 2012 a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from the Gazette revealed that Islington Council had 135 traffic wardens working in the borough, the second highest of 200 UK councils that responded.
In spring it was also revealed that the town hall was forced to repay £1million worth of tickets issued at a controversial width restriction in Drayton Park, Holloway.
But a spokesperson for the council said that the figures were a sign of greater efficiency.
“Although Islington has huge pressure on its roads and parking spaces, we issue far fewer parking tickets than in the past – 120,000 fewer last year than six years ago.
“Surplus money in the parking account, due in part to lower back-office costs, is used to pay for essential highway repairs, road safety improvements and concessionary travel for pensioners.”
“Parking charges and fines help us keep traffic moving, make sure parking is available near homes and local shops and help to keep residents and visitors safe.”