How much Reading council makes in parking fines and charges

Figures show the council has made a surplus from its car parks and fining rule breakers for the first time since the pandemic.

Processing fines for people who overstayed their tickets and those parking illegally caused a net loss for the council of £1.1 million during the pandemic.

The figure only recovered by £618,419 in 2021/22, the year after the pandemic, still leading to a net loss of £59,782.

Operating the council’s off-street car parks such as those at Broad Street Mall and Queens Road also cost it hundreds of thousands of pounds, making it a net loss of £463,294 in 2021/12.

READ MORE: Top 10 roads in Reading where drivers were hit with parking fines – and how much the council made in a year 

But now the amount the council has made from car parks and enforcing rule-breaking has recovered and is finally making the council money again.

The council’s Labour administration has repeatedly said that any money it makes can only be reinvested in other transport-related projects such as better road surfacing and safety measures.

In all, the council made the greatest surplus from its pay and display on-street car parking spaces, which are focused in the town centre and East Reading.

Of the 1,176 spaces, 716 are in the town centre and 460 are in the hospital and university area.

Pay and display parking gave the council a surplus of £2.44 million (2,445,992) over the last year.

More than £1.5 million (£1,695,253) was raised by enforcing Reading’s bus lanes and other moving traffic offences.

Although enforcement of stopping in yellow boxes began in February 2023, no fines were actually issued, only warning notices. 

The figures for enforcing parking rules were revealed in the council’s Annual Parking Services Report 2022/23 presented to its traffic management sub-committee on Wednesday, March 6.

Councillor Sarah Hacker (Independent, Battle) said that she “always enjoys the report” and called it “really useful statistical information.”

READ MORE: Drivers caught out more than 400 times in Reading for breaking this driving rule

She also questioned how statistics will change following the approval of the council’s digital residents parking permit scheme which went online in November 2023.

Parking permits netted the council £748,370 in 2022/23, the financial year before the digital permit scheme was introduced.

Those observed breaking the rules typically must pay a fine.

Higher level breaches such as parking on yellow lines or disabled bays come with a £70 fine, which can be discounted to £35 if paid within 14 days.

Meanwhile, lower level breaches such as having an expired pay & display ticket or residents permit costs £50, discounted to £25 if paid within 14 days.

READ MORE: Thousands of fines issued using Reading Borough Council’s CCTV enforcement car 

A total of 61,651 PCNs were issued in 2022/23, of which 43,703 were paid.

A PCN can be cancelled after a representation, with 2,540 being challenged in this way. 4,020 fines were written off for other reasons.

Cllr Andrew Hornsby-Smith (Labour, Church) joked that illegally parking in the street he lives in the town centre “would be suicide!”

The report was noted unanimously by the traffic management sub-committee at the meeting.

Reading Chronicle | Town Centre