Following reports that English councils amassed a record £819m in parking operations in the past year, fleets are being encouraged to actively contest any parking infringements they are served in future.

The RAC Foundation’s transport consultant David Leibling was responsible for the findings, analysing official annual returns made by councils to the Department for Communities and Local Government. The total for 2016-17 beats the previous financial year’s record by 10%, exceeding the 2012-13 total of £587 by 40%.

Separate research, also by the RAC Foundation, revealed that councils in the UK serve parking charges approximately every four seconds on average. It is estimated that eight million parking tickets are issued each year.

However, some organisations are advocating are more proactive approach by fleets regarding their parking charges.

Kelly Communications employs a dedicated, specialised team to manage their parking infringements. Reportedly, since setting up in 2011, the department has successfully cancelled an amount of tickets totalling £2.7m.

Accounting for its fleet of 1,800 vehicles, Kelly has avoided payment of £277,000 in this financial year alone, overturning 63% of tickets served.

The company offers a dedicated phone line for its drivers to call, allowing them to give notice of any penalty fares at the first opportunity.

“We want to get them at the discounted rate so if we cannot appeal it, we’re at least not paying the higher rate. However, drivers can also call the designated number if they simply want advice on where’s best to park and their options,” explained parking manager, Terry Moore.

“Give drivers the information they need and the necessary back-up,” he said, advocating greater support for drivers.

The largest surpluses – including income from parking charges (fees and permits) and penalties – were seen in London councils, making up 46% of the UK total at £379m.

Outside of the capital, the largest profits were reported in Brighton & Hove (£21.2m), Milton Keynes and Birmingham (both at £11.1m).

While the overall profit increases represents a 6% year-on-year increases, councils also spent £76m on parking operations, a rise of 2%.

Local Government Association transport spokesman, Councillor Martin Tett, said: “Income raised through on-street parking charges is spent on running parking services and any surplus is only spent on essential transport projects, such as tackling our national £12bn roads repair backlog and creating new parking spaces.”