Despite the coronavirus lockdown, UK councils earned an average of £850,000 in parking fines in just 12 months, new research has revealed. A Freedom of Information request from price comparison site CompareTheMarket.com found one council issued nearly a quarter of a million fines between August 2019 and July 2020.
In all, the data showed the London Borough of Newham issued 239,000 fines over the year-long period, raking in a total of more than £10 million. Although the average income for a UK council was £850,000, the top 10 earners all brought in at least four times that figure.
Of the top 10 councils with the biggest income from parking fines, nine were in London. The London Borough of Haringey made almost £9.9 million from parking fines, putting it second on the list. And third place went to the London Borough of Ealing, which made more than £8.3 million from parking fines.
The sole council to make the top 10 outside London was City of Glasgow Council, which raked in a total of almost £5.5 million over the 12-month period. That put it in eighth place, slotting in between the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and the London Borough of Islington.
Discounting councils in the capital, Birmingham City Council was the second biggest earner, issuing 112,735 fines to earn £3.95 million. Brighton and Hove Council, meanwhile, came third with revenue totalling more than £2.8 million.
Across the UK, the average parking fine was £37, although that figure rises to £41 among the 20 local authorities that made the most money from fines. The London Borough of Haringey, Gosport Borough Council, and Durham County Council issued the highest fines, landing hapless motorists with average fines of £72.04, £66.25, and £57.93 respectively.
The average council issued nearly 23,000 parking fines, although the 20 authorities that issued the most fines handed out nearly 2.2 million fines between them. Across the nation, councils issued an average of 63 fines every day, but that rose to 307 among the 20 councils that issued the most fines.
“Parking fine revenues are a cash cow for many local authorities,” said Dan Hutson, the head of motor at CompareTheMarket.com. “Up and down the country drivers are regularly being caught out by tight parking restrictions. With the third lockdown now in place, we would encourage drivers to take extra care and attention when parking up their car to ensure they avoid a parking fine.”