Nottingham City Council is one of the first authorities in the country to forge ahead with plans to introduce the levy that could raise £10 million a year when introduced in 2004. Proposed workplace charges will start at £150 plus VAT per space per year, rising over 10 years to £350 a year plus VAT.
But companies campaigning against the scheme, including high street chemist Boots, IBM, Imperial Tobacco and Raleigh, claim a new council-funded study, called 'Road User Charging in Nottingham - Feasibility Study', proves a road charging scheme is a better option than workplace parking charging to reduce city centre congestion.
The campaign, called Stop Workplace Parking Tax, is urging the local authority to choose the road charging scheme, proposed for peak hours only, which they say would take up to 5,274 cars off the city's streets every day.
Campaign spokesman Peter Stevenson said: 'Members of the Stop campaign have said all along that a workplace parking levy will not significantly reduce congestion. In view of the research, we want the city council to stop plans to introduce a levy and to direct all its time and money into a solution that is best for Nottingham.'
However, the city council says it believes a road charging scheme is not appropriate for the city for a number of reasons.
'Employers in Nottingham recognise they have a role to play in reducing congestion and are in a position to influence policy and programmes,' it said. 'The workplace parking levy allows for the continued development of employer partnerships. Road user charging applies to individuals only and does not have this potential.'
It added such a scheme would not target commuters, the main cause of congestion in Nottingham.