Council gives their view on the legal uses of car parking income

Is it legal for the council to use the income from car parking to pay for anything other that just running their car parking operation?

Three cars parking by new_and_used_tires

Since the high-profile legal case where residents in Barnet took their council to court over parking fees – and won – OnTheWight has been raising questions with the Isle of Wight council as to what the impact of this legal precedent might be on the Isle of Wight.

At the time of the Barnet case, about a year ago, the response from the council was ‘the ruling wouldn’t impact on us as it related to parking permits in residential parking areas’.

A year ago
In the light of Ryde Business Association floating the potential of legal action over the proposed changes in car parking charges, OnTheWight wanted to seek a more specific answer, asking, “Does the IWC believe that income raised from parking charges can be used in other budget areas outside running, maintaining and operating parking?”

It only took the council five days(!) to provide their answer, which we’ve put in full below.

Current response
The summary: The council claims (broadly) that the ‘You can’t spend money raised through car parking fees on anything else but running the car parking scheme’-argument only applies to on-street parking. They say the money made from off-street parking has no restrictions on what they can spend it on.

The subtleties of it are given in full below, but it’s worth bearing in mind that legal opinions are just that – opinions. It’s only when they’re argued and ruled on in a court of law are they definite.

IWC response in full

Parking income from off-street parking can be used in other budget areas. However, parking income from on-street parking is restricted to the cost of enforcing parking, contributing to off-street parking provision and, if the provision of further off-street parking is unnecessary or undesirable, contributing to the following activities:

  • the costs of public passenger transport services
  • highway improvement projects
  • environmental improvements

The majority of the council’s parking income comes from off-street parking.

Image: new_and_used_tires under a CC BY 2.0 license

Wednesday, 4th June, 2014 3:07pm



Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Roads, Top story

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below must comply with the Commenting 'House Rules' and are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

Leave your Reply

6 Comments on "Council gives their view on the legal uses of car parking income"

newest oldest most voted

It’s great to get the official word on the parking income and how it can be used. I’ve heard all sorts of rumours about this and that over the last few weeks.

Mark Nagle
They are still not allowed to knowingly create a surplus from any parking! No where in the Trafic Managent Act does it say you can spend it on anything. There is care law showing the council is wrong. The council are the only people saying they are correct. Just a thought, are the council being pressured to implement these charges from the officers of the council. There… Read more »

Generally you can do something unless it’s prohibited. If you want to argue that revenue may not be used for some purpose, you need to support that by reference to the law or regulation prohibiting it.

As the article says, this is only the view of the council. Given that there was approx £2,000,000 profit made on all parking by the council’s own figures, they are hardly likely to say anything else. The correct position would be decided in court with the Barnet case used as precedent. At the very least, those who are obliged to pay for resident parking permits to park… Read more »
Fred Karno
I think to understand the possible legal implications, it is important to differentiate between parking on a road and parking in a car park. In the Barnet case, the local council proposed to increase the cost of ‘On Street’ parking permits, from £10 to £40 for residents and from £1 to £4 in the case of visitors. A local resident, who happened to be a solicitor thought… Read more »
There is a major difference between the car parks run by the council and those run by private organisations. If you contravene the rules in a private car park and refuse to pay the “fine” the car park owner has to pursue me you a CIVIL court (he has to sue you for the money and prove the “fine” (excess charge, actually) is reasonable. If you contravene… Read more »