Scottish Councils raking in millions from parking

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Councils have been accused of “playing the percentages” to raise cash by fining motorists as new figures reveal drivers are being hit with soaring levels of parking penalties.

Drivers have been hit by rising levels of fines in recent years as many councils have taken control of parking enforcement across Scotland, with a 15 per cent rise in the amount levied on motorists for parking infractions.

Edinburgh council made the highest amount from parking fines. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Edinburgh council made the highest amount from parking fines. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Figures revealed yesterday under Freedom of Information laws showed Edinburgh’s parking wardens alone raised more than £5.9 million last year, with Glasgow the second highest in terms of fine income at just over £5m.

In all, Scotland’s councils took in £52,442,979.70 in parking fines over the past three years, rising from £16,387,966.48 in 2016/17 to £18,723,336.80 in 2018/19.

Over the same period councils have seen a £7m-a-year rise in revenue generated from selling parking tickets, car park season tickets and street parking permits.

Edinburgh’s local authority enjoyed a 20 per cent rise in fees paid for parking from £19,831,914.49 three years ago to £23,660,335.05 last year. That would have been enough to cover the city council’s £16m new and replacement schools budget and £4.5m Meadowbank Stadium replacement budgets for last year.

Dundee also saw a near 20 per cent rise in parking meter revenue over the same three-year period, while Glasgow’s income rose by around £2m.

Luke Bosdet, spokesman for the AA, said: “Councils are issuing tickets for anything and everything and the position is that if you don’t like it you can appeal.

“In total 28 per cent of Scottish drivers we surveyed in August 2017 said they paid their tickets quickly even though they didn’t think they had done anything wrong.

“A further 11 per cent said they paid quickly at the discounted rate because the full penalty if they left it would cause them financial difficulty. But one in seven tickets issued were successfully appealed – they were wrongly issued. These wrong tickets are issued in the hope a large percentage of people won’t appeal. Councils are playing the percentages.”

Rebecca Ashton, IAM RoadSmart head of driver behaviour, said: “Everyone is happy to pay for parking, but it needs to be kept realistic in price. Free parking for environmentally friendly vehicles could benefit motorists and help councils with air quality targets. It would be a shame if the motorist was unfairly penalised and seen as an easy fix to any council’s funding gap.”

A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said: “The council has a policy of dissuading commuter parking on road to provide short term parking for business and leisure as well as creating space for those with mobility issues. The council sought to reinforce this policy and last year increased parking charges on road in pursuance of the policy objectives.”