Revenue generated by Bradford Council-issued parking tickets has dropped nearly 40 per cent in the past four years, according to new figures.
During the 2009/10 financial year, the local authority raised more than £1.7 million by handing out Penalty Charge Notices, but this fell to a little more than £1 million for 2012/13.
The data, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, is being hailed as a reprieve for Bradford motorists by UK parking provider Looking4Parking, but the district still has parking blackspots, such as Piccadilly in the city centre, where more than 3,000 fines were issued last year.
Councillor Andrew Thornton, the Council’s executive member for environment, sport and sustainability, said: “Parking controls are about keeping the roads safe and clear, so fewer motorists breaking the rules is a positive development.
“It’s a myth that councils are using parking charges to raise money. We’re on the side of hard-pressed motorists and have kept a lid on parking charges.
“The reality is that across the country the average motorist is paying more than 30 times more to Whitehall in charges and taxation each year than they do to their town hall through parking.”
Last year, the Council said cash raised from general parking charges went to the general revenue account, while penalty notice fines paid for traffic wardens and improvements to traffic and highways.
From April 2009 to March 2013, £5,576,721 was raised from Penalty Charge Notices – £1,720,453 collected in 2009/10, £1,593,370 in 2010/11, £1,214,633 in 2011/12 and £1,048,265 in 2012/13.
City centre streets such as Cheapside, Darley Street and Westgate saw a gradual decline in the number of motorists fined but certain streets still see lots of illegal parking, however, with 3,166 Parking Charge Notices issued on Piccadilly last year, 1,714 on Rawson Road, and 1,505 on Kirkgate.
Motorists using the city’s designated car parks were also reflected in the 2012/13 figures, with 810 tickets issued at Bradford’s Sharpe Street and 616 at the Crown Court car park.
In October 2013, the Government’s transport department published a local authority parking enforcement report warning that it was “neither acceptable or legal” to use fines to increase revenue. The report also stated that every local authority should publish an annual parking report to show precisely where their parking revenues come from and how any income was used.
Martin Mansell, managing director at Looking4Parking, said: “It is great to see Bradford Council making an effort to lower the amount of parking tickets issued.
“The pressure is mounting for all local authorities to make this information more easily accessible for motorists as a matter of course.”