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Transport chief backs first city charging plan

THE chairman of the Commission for Integrated Transport (CfIT) has praised a local authority's plans to introduce workplace parking charges, despite opposition to the scheme from some of the country's best known companies.

The controversial plan to introduce the UK's first workplace parking charges won Nottingham City Council the top prize of Transport Local Authority of the Year at the National Transport Awards last week. The awards recognise the role played by local authorities in modernising the UK's transport system.

Professor David Begg, chairman of the judging panel and chairman of CfIT, said: 'Nottingham's 'carrot and stick' approach aims to deliver realistic alternatives to the car while charging drivers through the 'Workplace Parking Levy'.'

However, plans to charge employers in Nottingham £150 (plus VAT) per space per year, rising over 10 years to £350 a year (plus VAT) have met solid resistance from local businesses.

Companies such as Boots, IBM, Imperial Tobacco and Raleigh have backed a campaign called Stop Workplace Parking Tax and claim that a council-funded study, called 'Road User Charging in Nottingham - Feasibility Study', proves that a road charging scheme would be a better option than workplace parking charging to reduce city centre congestion.

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. It argues that workplace parking charges will involve employers in devising green commuter schemes, where congestion charges would only affect individuals. It will be the decision of employers over whether to pay the parking levy themselves or pass it on to their staff.

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