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Wiltshire Council makes £3.8 million on car parking charges

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FIGURES released earlier this month show that Wiltshire Council has made over £3.8million in profit  from car parking charges in the last financial year.

Wiltshire Council came 44th out of the 353 councils in England for its profit from its day to day, on and off street parking operations.

The figures are calculated by taking the income from parking charges and penalty notices and then deducting the running costs.

The RAC Foundation that carries out the research is urging councils to be more transparent about how the surplus is spent.

Steve Gooding, director said, “The legal position is that parking charges are to be used as a tool for managing traffic. But with local government budgets under ever-greater pressure the temptation to see them as a fund-raiser must be intense.

“When a parking profit is made the law states that, essentially, the money can only be spent on transport and environment projects. We are simply asking that all councils publish annual reports to tell drivers exactly where this huge excess ends up.

“The precarious financial state of many councils is a genuine concern, not least when it comes to the risk of a cut in road maintenance spending which will hit every one of us. A funding solution requires national and local government to look beyond the High Street parking meter.”

Philip Whitehead, Wiltshire Council cabinet member responsible for highways and car parking, said, “Any excess funds from car parking are used to subsidise vital bus and pay for highway improvements for people in Wiltshire.

“When we finalised our review of car parking it was clear people did not want to see those services reduced in order to have lower parking charges. We did however manage to reduce or keep the charges the same in three quarters of our car parks, and significantly reduce the cost of season tickets.

“We will continue to listen to local people when making these big decision.”