The amount of money Reading Borough Council was able to raise from parking fines during the coronavirus pandemic has been revealed.

The statistics, including the amount of parking fines that were issued, have been published as part of an council annual report.

Figures reveal that, despite spending more on enforcing parking penalty charge notices (PCNs) in 2020/21, the council actually made a net loss compared with how much it spent.

The council made £1,056,714  from enforcing parking breaches last year.

However, it spent £2,157,343 on enforcing these PCNs, which includes paying for the borough’s army of traffic wardens, which means that the council’s PCN enforcement programme ended up costing it £1,100,629 – making a net loss.

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Figures in the report show a total of 34,541 penalty charge notices (PCNs) were issued in 2020/21.

But not all of these were paid, as 1,679 of these were cancelled due to formal or informal representation, or appeals.

Minus these cancelled fines, a total of 32,862 PCNs were paid by drivers breaking parking rules in 2020/21.

Significantly less parking fines were paid in that year than the previous year, with 51,731 fines paid 2019/20 – a drop of 18,869 fines.

Additionally, figures show where the majority of fines were issued. The three streets where the highest number of fines were issued last year were:

Oxford Road – 1,513

Sackville Street – 634

Zinzan Street – 584

The report also showed that the council was able to raise less money from its parking and regulations in 2020/21 than it did the previous year.

The multiple ways the council makes money from regulating parking and travel in Reading is laid out in the report, including fines for parking and bus lane breaches, issued parking permits and the money made from the car parks it owns.

The council also spent more on its car parks than it was able to raise, ending in a net cost of £264,519.

You can see figures on how much the council spent on enforcement, the income it accrued, and whether it made a surplus or a cost for 2020/21 and 2019/20 in the table below:

All in all, the council made a surplus  of £136,996, which has to be reinvested in its various transportation schemes.

Expenditure for these schemes total £3.68 million (£3,680,836).

This spending includes:

  • £1,301,767 on structural maintenance for principle roads
  • £698,834 on maintaining bridges
  • £452,857 on in house transport for those in receipt of Adult Social Care

The report was discussed at a Reading Borough Council policy committee meeting on Monday, April 4.

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Councillor Simon Robinson (Conservative, Peppard) asked whether the council could analysis who were guilty of parking and bus lane breaches – whether they are residents or visitors.

His question was answered by council officer Lisa Munger.

She replied: “We need to look at whether we can produce that data, if we are able to, we would be happy to do so.”

Earlier in the meeting, she explained the number of PCNs issued had decline because of a six week suspension in parking fine enforcement during the pandemic and a drop due to various lockdowns.