Nottingham has said its plans to introduce a levy on workplace parking places is a viable alternative to local congestion charging.
The council said its solution is a “small stick” that can fund a “big carrot” and follows a policy that has seen parking charges within the city become progressively more expensive to discourage car commuting.
It is at odds with schemes proposed by Manchester and Cambridge, both of which favour charging road users.
Barry Horne, corporate director for Nottingham City Council said congestion costs the city £160 million a year and much of that congestion is being caused by people driving to and from work.
Nottingham is the only city that plans to introduce the workplace parking levy, which will see the city’s 500 largest employers pay £185 for each of the 37,000 parking spaces they provide to their employees.
This will increase to £364 per space in 2015 – five years after the scheme is set to be introduced.
Mr Horne stressed that it is a levy on employers not on employees, although an employer will have the option to pass on the cost to their employees.
He also stressed that fleet vehicles that are left at the companies’ premises will not be penalised.
The project is now in its final stages and is just waiting for the secretary of state for transport to give his consent this winter.
Following this, the city council will work with affected employers – those who supply more than 10 parking spaces – to help them with work travel plans for their employees. It will come into force in April 2010.
The money raised - £11 million a year from 2015 – will be ring fenced for public transport initiatives in the city.