Fleet News

Pre-election special: Workplace parking levies and local road charging

Fleet News has secured exclusive interviews with the three most important political figures for fleets – transport minister Paul Clark, Conservative shadow transport minister Theresa Villiers and Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Norman Baker.

With the election just months away, we quizzed them about their policies on key transport issues and what they have in store for fleets.

Here we give readers their policies on one of the most critical issues for fleets - local congestion charging and workplace parking levies.

You can read their answers or just follow the audio links below to hear what they said.

Over the coming weeks, you can read their policies on road safety, national road pricing, road building, electric vehicle subsidies, managing at-work driver risk and additional messages to fleets.

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Play AudioFleet News Audio Links

  1. Paul Clark, Labour Transport Minister:
    > workplace parking levies
    > local congestion charging and transport innovation funding 
     
  2. Theresa Villiers, Shadow Transport Minister for the Conservatives:
    > workplace parking levies & local congestion charging 
     
  3. Norman Baker, Shadow Transport Spokeman for the Liberal Democrats:
    > workplace parking levies
    > local congestion charging 
    > transport innovation funding 
     

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WORKPLACE PARKING LEVIES/LOCAL ROAD CHARGING

Local congestion charging and workplace parking levies (WPL) are much-discussed ways to reduce congestion and raise revenue.

However, fleets could face multiple local congestion charges, all operating different systems.

Labour is committed to this route, with millions of pounds of additional funding – from the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) – available only to local councils who introduce either congestion charging or WPL. 

“The vast majority of congestion problems are in our towns and cities,” says transport minister Paul Clark. 

“Congestion is not good for us as individuals, it is not good for business and it is not good for UK plc.”

Under the Transport Act, Labour handed local authorities the power to introduce congestion charging.

Clark adds: “The decision as to whether a charge is introduced is to be taken at a local level. We would be rightly criticised if this was a ‘thou shalt’ charge imposed nationally. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution.”


The Liberal Democrats also say local authorities need to find their own solutions to tackle congestion in their areas.

However, transport spokesman Norman Baker has a warning about WPL, the first of which will come into force in Nottingham in 2012.

“It is not clear it will work and will be hugely unpopular with businesses. If it goes wrong it will be a problem for Nottingham, not the minister – he will let them take the rap,” he says.

Both Lib Dems and the Tories say linking TIF funding to local charges is a mistake. 

Conservative shadow transport minister Theresa Villiers says: “We don’t object in principle if an area wants to go ahead with a local congestion charge, but we have objected to the Government using the TIF in the way it has.”

The Tories have stated they will “scrap Labour’s attempts to bully local councils” into introducing local road-pricing in return for funding. Villiers also says that WPL will be on the Tories’ chopping block should they come to power.

“We have opposed the Nottingham scheme. If we win the General Election we will look at the situation.”

However, the Tories see some scope for road pricing in two areas. 

“The first is where you use pricing to help pay for new capacity – we’ve done it for years with bridges and the M6 toll demonstrates that it can be done in relation to roads,” Villiers says.

“The other area is lorry road user charging. Road pricing could help solve the foreign lorry problem where they don’t pay any taxes to make up for the wear and tear they cause on the UK’s roads.”

 
Pre-election Special

To read more of these exclusive interviews with key fleet politicians in this pre-election series follow the links below, which also allow you to listen to audio files.

Working parking levies and congestion charging

Road safety

National road charging

Road building

The future of the electric vehicle subsidy

At-work driver risk

 

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