For the last four years, Boots has been one of the UK's innovators in introducing a transport plan that costs the firm £350,000 a year in encouraging the 8,000 staff at its Nottingham headquarters to cycle, walk or use public transport to travel to work. But at a recent conference at the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Barbara King, head of facilities management at Boots, said the company would not pay.
She said: 'Workplace parking charges will not work in changing people's travel behaviour or reducing congestion, unless the levy is passed on to staff, which is what we will do because we are not prepared to take it off our bottom line. But this will see many low paid staff faced with a charge they can ill afford.
'This is a tax on business that is not being introduced on a level playing field because too much is being left to the local authorities to decide. There has been no guidance on exemptions, no limits on how much can be charged and how heavy will the administrative burden be on companies?'
King urged the 25 local authorities which have expressed an interest in being the first to implement parking charges should consider road-user charging instead. The 25 includes Nottingham City Council, which is planning to charge companies £150 per car per year.
For a full conference report - see Friday's Fleet News