Carmarthenshire county council earned almost half-a-million pounds profit from car park charges last year, the latest figures have revealed.
The authority pocketed £487,000 – a figure calculated after the various costs associated with providing parking provision have been deducted – to make it Wales’ sixth highest earning council in terms of parking charges.
Official statistics show the council generated £2,137,000 from parking charges between 2012-13, equivalent to £12 for every man, woman and child living in the county.
The total income generated by Carmarthenshire was the third highest in Wales.
The cost to the authority of providing parking was £1,650,000.
The figures, released following an analysis by transport consultant David Leibling of the official accounts councils must legally make each year to the Welsh Government, show a rise of 26 percent in Carmarthenshire’s parking charge profits for the year.
The percentage rise in profits was the fifth highest of any of Wales’ 22 local authorities.
Overall, the Welsh authorities made an £8.7million profit between 2012-13 and comes from a record level of income nationally - £30.4m.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “The beauty of these numbers is that they are official. None of the councils can dispute the calculations because this is the data they themselves submit to the Welsh Government.
“As ever with parking, the story is less about the numbers and more about what the councils are trying to achieve. Parking must always be about managing congestion, not raising money and we would recommend that all local authorities produce an annual parking report detailing their parking strategy.
“Most people, including drivers, recognise the need for parking enforcement. You only have to look at the chaos caused in Aberystwyth back in 2011 when the restrictions were removed. But in many areas of the UK trust between motorists and councils is in short supply. Transparency over parking policy would go a long way to rebuilding the relationship.”
Carmarthenshire county council was asked to comment on the figures but failed to respond.