The ‘Wood & Vale’ reports;
“Westminster has again been revealed as the country’s number one parking fine hotspot after new data shows the council issued penalties to drivers worth almost £24million last year.
Figures released this week show the borough issued about 455,000 penalty charge notices in 2013, the equivalent of every Westminster resident receiving about two tickets each.
Westminster came top of the table – and ahead of any other local UK authority which provided information to insurance company Churchill – for both the number of fines given and amount of revenue collected.
Westminster’s Labour group leader Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg said it is an “absolute scandal” the council appears to be exploiting motorists to boost its coffers.
“Westminster raises more money from drivers through parking charges or parking fines than it does from collecting council tax,” he said. “It’s completely idiotic that the council’s finances should be so dependent on people breaking the law.
“It can’t make sense and it’s completely unsustainable, and, more importantly, it generates a view among residents that the parking regulations are rigged against the driver.”
The research, compiled using Freedom of Information requests, found 187 councils issued parking tickets worth £255m last year.
Ten London boroughs came top of the table for the highest revenues from parking fines, with Barnet in second position behind Westminster, issuing tickets to the value of just more than £9m over the same period.
Westminster Council said revenue from parking fines is used to fund parking services or transport infrastructure projects, and compared with 10 years ago it issued half the number of penalties.
Leith Penny, the council’s strategic director of city management, said: “Westminster Council is always looking to make parking safer, easier and fairer.
“In a matter of weeks we will introduce parking sensors to help drivers find a parking space.
“Later this year, traffic marshals will take the place of wardens with a brief to help motorists and, having reduced the number of fixed CCTV cameras from 179 to 50 last year, we are conducting another review to see if they’re the best – and fairest – way to manage parking.
“Put simply, when it comes to parking not all local authorities are the same.”