Drivers around the country could be facing significant increases in parking fees as councils prepare to coin in a record £1 billion in the coming year.
Research by the RAC Foundation has found many councils are planning to increase their parking charges from April, with some hiking prices by as much as 230 per cent.
Some authorities also plan to scrap free or reduced-price parking on Sundays in order to capitalise on weekend shoppers, according to the analysis.
Last financial year, councils in Britain collected an estimated £885 million in parking charges but in the face of falling funding from central government many are reportedly looking at ways to increase this income.
Councils say they need to increase the cost of on-street parking to cover the cost of parking services and road maintenance. (Picture: Shutterstock)
Nottingham, Cambridge, Reading and Brighton are among the councils identified by the RAC Foundation analysis and, in total, local authorities are expected to make a record £1bn from parking charges in the 2019/20 financial year.
However, Steve Gooding from the RAC Foundation said that the move to make more money from drivers could backfire on councils and force people away from town and city centres.
He commented: “With sums this large in play, the question must be whether they are actually helping or whether it feels more like motorists being targeted to help increasingly cash-strapped councils balance their books.”
Councillor Martin Tett, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, insisted that councils were not simply trying to rake in more cash from motorists.
He said: “They have to strike a balance when setting parking policy to make sure that there are spaces available for residents, high streets are kept vibrant and traffic is kept moving.
“Any income raised through on-street parking charges is spent on running parking services and any surplus is only spent on essential transport projects, such as tackling our national £9bn roads repair backlog and other transport projects that benefit high streets and local economies.”