Islington Council made £19 million from parking fines in 2016-17

Islington parking is now highly profitable, and campaigners are beginning to ask where the money is going.

Parking fines profits for Islington Council
Parking fine profits for Islington Council

Islington Council made £19.11 million from parking fines in the last financial year – meaning it has the seventh most profitable council parking operation in England.

An analysis of municipal parking fine data by transport charity RAC Foundation shows that Islington’s income from parking fines increased by 23 per cent on the previous year.

Use unclear

The Liberal Democrats said it was unclear how the council was using this money, and accused them of “squirrelling away millions of pounds in parking fines”. In a blog post, the party group claim that the last detailed council report on parking is from 2012-13.

Local Lib Dem activist, Ilana Lever, said: “The existence of this surplus is highly alarming and a sign of the Council’s approach to their motorists […] I am highly concerned about Islington’s lack of transparency as to where it’s going.“There are huge opportunities to improve Islington’s transport infrastructure and yet nothing is being done.”

The council's parking fine surplus since 2012
The council’s parking fine surplus since 2012

No profit from parking fines

This surplus of cash is supposed to be spent on local transport. Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation said: “These surpluses must almost exclusively be ploughed back into transport […] we urge motorists to take the time to read their own local authority’s parking report so they can see both the rationale for charges in their area and how the surplus is being spent.”

The executive council member for environment and transport, Claudia Webbe, said: “the council doesn’t profit from parking fines. All fines and income go back towards transport improvements. This could be school bus transport or highway improvements.”

Unfair parking fines

At a national level the local authority that profited the most from parking fines was Westminster, cashing in over £73 million. This has gone into the development of an app which guides motorists to the nearest free parking bay. Islington Council’s increased parking fine surplus comes as some residents claim they have had unfair parking fines.

Paul Doonan, a nurse at Whittington Health Centre in Archway, was fined £70 while parked at work after not realising that the council had changed the parking restrictions. He tweeted: “I emailed them explaining the circumstances and just got a swift reply two weeks later with a ‘No! Pay us our money!’ I just want it overturned.”