According to RAC Foundation research, in the 2015/16 financial year the 353 local authorities in England generated a combined ‘profit’ of £756m from their on and off-street parking activities.
This is a 9% leap on the 2014-15 figure of £693m, and 34% higher than in 2011-12.
The figures are calculated by taking income from parking charges and penalty notices and then deducting running costs.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “These numbers might seem eye-wateringly large, but in part they reflect the growing competition for space in many of our towns and cities.
“In 1995 there were only 21.4 million cars on Britain’s roads, today there are 30.7 million.
“Parking charges are one of the tools councils use to keep traffic moving whilst also allowing people reasonable and affordable access to high street shops and other facilities.
“The good news is that any profit generated by councils from on-street parking must by law be spent on transport-related activities, and as every motorist knows there's no shortage of work that needs doing.”
The data – analysed for the RAC Foundation by transport consultant David Leibling – comes from the statutory annual returns that councils make to the Department for Communities and Local Government.
The largest surpluses were seen in London with the 33 London boroughs making £332 million between them – 44% of the English total.
Westminster had the largest surplus in England (£55.9 million) followed by Kensington & Chelsea (£34.2 million) and Camden (£25.2 million).
The biggest profits outside of London were reported by Brighton & Hove (£20.1 million) followed by Nottingham (£13.6 million) and Milton Keynes (£10.8 million).
The figure for Nottingham is significantly influenced by income of approximately £9 million from the Workplace Parking Levy which is now in its fourth year.
This is a table of the 20 councils in England with the largest surpluses:
|Local authority||2011-12||2012-13||2013-14||2014-15||2015-16||Ranking by 2015-16 surplus|
|Kensington & Chelsea||28.1||30.4||33.5||33.0||34.2||2|
|Hammersmith & Fulham||19.5||19.4||23.0||23.8||22.7||4|
|Brighton & Hove UA||14.4||16.3||18.1||18.6||20.1||6|
|Milton Keynes UA||6.6||6.7||8.2||9.0||10.8||11|
|Richmond upon Thames||4.1||6.1||7.0||6.3||7.5||20|