Parking fines are NOT a cash cow for Sandwell Council, surprise figures reveal
Motorists’ long-held suspicions that councils rake in money through fines has hit a wall after it was revealed enforcing traffic laws costs more than parking tickets bring in.
Statistics released by Sandwell Council under the Freedom of Information Act have revealed that over the last two years the authority spent more money issuing tickets than it got from penalties drivers pay.
The data is in contrast to a commonly held belief that councils use fines to generate additional income.
The latest figures for Sandwell show that parking enforcement officers, commonly known as traffic wardens, issued almost 41,000 tickets in the 12 months ending April 2018.
In total the council received £1,069,279 in fines but the cost of employing the officers and council staff was £1,077,358.
In 2017 the gap was even greater with the council spending more than £70,000 more issuing tickets than in collecting penalty charges.
Overall the council issued 33,628 fines that year, bringing £927,435 into the council’s coffers but the cost of the service was £1,002,531.
The figures relate to tickets issued for on and off road parking and the council’s CCTV vehicle and exclude council run car parks and fees for parking permits.
Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for highways and environment Councillor David Hosell said: “We don’t run a separate parking enforcement service funded by fines.
“Our parking management team oversees the maintenance, operation and enforcement of our car parks, parking bays and enforcement of traffic regulations on our road network.
“Our parking charges are reasonable and people who park illegally, don’t pay for their parking or ignore other traffic regulations can expect a fine.
“Parking management, which includes enforcement, is essential for road safety and keeping our roads and car parks operating efficiently.
“Unfortunately some motorists continue to park illegally and inresponsibly, causing traffic jams and delays to other people’s journeys and putting people’s safety at risk particularly around schools.
“Money raised through parking management including parking charges and fines goes towards operating, enforcing, maintaining and improving our parking and traffic management services, on our public car parks and roads.”
By George Makin, Local Democracy Reporter