More local authorities are looking to introduce workplace parking levies in a bid to cut traffic congestion, improve air quality and boost the local economy.
Nottingham City Council, which implemented the first, and so far only, workplace parking levy scheme in 2012, says it has received enquiries from “a number of other UK local authorities” which are considering if they should introduce a similar initiative.
Transport for London (TfL) and the capital’s mayor, Boris Johnson, have identified workplace parking levies as an option for local boroughs to cut transport emissions, with discussions on the issue to be held soon. And a workplace parking levy could be an option to cut traffic volumes in Cambridge as part of the Greater Cambridge City Deal.
It is a partnership between Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council, supported by University of Cambridge and the Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnerships.
A spokesman said no decisions had been taken and, in a joint statement from the Greater Cambridge City Deal partners, he added: “Cambridge has a major and growing congestion problem that needs to be tackled so our economy can continue to grow at pace and flourish.
“The City Deal Partners will be meeting in June to develop plans to address this congestion around four themes: demand management, capacity enhancements, encouraging more people to use other forms of transport and behavioural change.
“Given the scale of congestion in Cambridge, it is likely that some challenging proposals will come forward but until the technical work has been completed, no decisions on their form have been taken.”
Meanwhile, TfL and the London’s Mayor’s Transport Emissions Roadmap report, published last year, identified the creation of low emission neighbourhoods (LENs) in a list of ‘top 10’ opportunities to reduce transport emissions. Furthermore, it went on to suggest that one measure LENs could turn to could be workplace parking levies.
Nevertheless, TfL said that, before a levy was introduced, analysis would have to be undertaken “to understand its feasibility, impact and funding requirements”.
A TfL spokesman said: “We continue to discuss workplace charging levies with London boroughs and will be meeting them in May, where this will be a topic of discussion.”
Historically, other cities have considered introducing a workplace parking levy, but have lacked the appetite. However, that may change as local authorities seek new streams of revenue to compensate for reductions in central government grants.
Nottingham City Council raised £16.2 million in 2012/13 and 2013/14 from the workplace parking levy. Each year the fee per liable parking space has increased and it will rise from £362 to £375 from April 1, 2015 – in 2012/13 it was £288 per space, rising to £334 in 2013/14.
Employers, rather than individual employees, are responsible for paying the charge, although organisations can choose to reclaim part, or all, of the cost from staff.
The authority describes the levy as a “demand management mechanism”, focusing on commuter parking, which it calculates is the cause of around 70% of congestion at peak periods. Currently, around 2,320 employers hold a workplace parking levy licence, of which approximately 480 pay the charge – employers with 10 or fewer parking spaces receive a 100% discount as do the NHS and emergency services. The authority says that the workplace parking levy has only a “modest impact on congestion”, but it is helping to fund a package of transport measures.