COUNCILS across North Yorkshire have benefited from a big leap in revenue from parking charges, according to research by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).
But the figures, which the IAM says are calculated using data from the Department for Communities and Local Government, have been branded incorrect or misleading by many of the local authorities.
The IAM said the amount collected by Ryedale District Council more than doubled to £458,000 last year from £202,000 the previous year; City of York Council’s income rose from £4.15 million to £4.47 million; North Yorkshire County Council’s increased from nothing the previous year to £2.16 million last year and Selby District Council’s went up from £85,000 to £147,000.
But Selby council claimed the raw figures were ‘somewhat misleading’, saying total revenue from car parking rose very little from £298,000 in 2010/11 to £301,000 last year.
“The difference in the IAM figures appears to relate to a change in the way the accounts are recorded, with a different valuation for the car parking assets,” said a spokesman. “This is not because we believe the value of the land to be different; this is just a different way of recording the data, and does not relate to any material change in income or expenditure.”
A North Yorkshire spokesman said it was advising the institute that its figures for the county were incorrect.
He said: “The total surplus from parking charges for North Yorkshire was £1,988,327 for 2010/11 and £2,061,288 for 2011/12 – an increase of approximately £72,000 in the overall surplus because of the increased parking charges introduced in Harrogate as a means of improving traffic management in the town.”
Ryedale council said while the figures were correct, they were misleading. “Ryedale’s charges have not shot up, nor are we seeing massive increases in people using the car parks,” said a spokesman.
“The increase in figures is mainly down to an accounting adjustment, no cash involved, following a revaluation of the car parks.”
City of York Council said while revenue from parking fees was put back into the overall council budget, this was not the only source of funding used to develop improved transport schemes, including safety, and the authority successfully bid for and received £4.6 million funding from the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund last year.
It said the council became the first ever local authority to join forces with the IAM last year on a scheme to offer young drivers a free assessment to improve their confidence and awareness on York’s roads.