HEREFORDSHIRE Council has defended the money it makes from car parking after a road safety charity questioned the profits being made by local authorities.

The council made £1,449,000 from car parking in the past year (2011/12), an increase from £467,000 in 2010/11.

The figures were released by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) in a report which questions the profits being made by local authorities throughout England at a time when, it claims, spending on road safety has been cut.

According to the IAM report, Herefordshire Council’s car parking revenue had increased by £980,000 in 12 months.

But Shane Hancock, community protection manager at Herefordshire Council, said the figures must be seen in context.

“Only £243,000 of this amount is accounted for by additional car parking charges,” said Mr Hancock.

“The remainder includes some increased income from penalty charge notices and most importantly capital costs.

“The £243,000 for parking was a result of the council increasing car parking fees across the county in November 2011, the first increase for three years.”

The capital costs referred to by Mr Hancock include maintenance, security and lighting – as well as the council’s recent “revaluation” of car parks to determine how much revenue they can make and how much investment they require.