The RAC has stated that English councils made a record £819 million from their parking operations in the last financial year, as the Leighton Buzzard Observer can reveal the figures for Central Bedfordshire and Luton.
While it was stated that, overall, English council parking profits were up ten percent, Luton Borough Council actually saw a decline in its profits during the financial year 2016-17.
Its parking operations surplus for 2016-17 was £1,137,000 compared to £1,406,000 for the years 2015-16.
For 2014-15 the figure was £1,280,000, while in 2013-14 and 2012-13 the surpluses were £1,320,000 and £1,218,000 respectively.
Central Bedfordshire Council did not reach the one million mark.
In 2016-17, its parking operations surplus was £468,000.
However, this was higher than in previous financial years: £292,000 in 2015-16; £420,000 in 2014-15; £160,000 in 2013-14 and £457,000 in 2012-3.
The findings come from analysis for the RAC Foundation by transport consultant David Leibling of the official returns that councils make annually to the Department for Communities and Local Government.
In 2016-17, the 353 local authorities in England had a total income from on- and off-street parking activities of £1.582 billion – up six per cent year-on-year.
This comprised both parking charges (fees and permits) and penalty income.
At the same time, the councils spent £763 million on running their parking operations – up two per cent year-on-year.
The difference between income and expenditure - £819 million - is the surplus or ‘profit’ available to be spent on transport locally.
Although most councils made a surplus on their parking activities, 46 (13 per cent) reported negative numbers.
Westminster had the largest surplus in England at £73.2 million.