UK cities look to introduce parking taxes to cut down car ownership rates

National Trust member criticises new parking charges

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The radical strategies are being used to cut the number of polluting vehicles on the streets, and promote cycling, walking and a greater uptake of people using public transport. Leicester City Council is looking to implement a workplace parking levy (WPL) in the city which would raise £95million during the first 10 years of operation.

Under the proposals, most employers with more than 10 spaces would pay £550 per space per year for a licence to provide car parking for their employees.

The council says that the high number of small businesses in Leicester means that around nine out of 10 are too small to have to pay.

However, it estimates that between 450 and 600 larger businesses across the city are likely to be eligible under the scheme.

It is expected that the money raised from this scheme will be reinvested into a new fleet of electric buses, an expanded cycle network and train station renovations.

The power to raise a WPL was introduced by Labour more than 20 years ago, but since then only Nottingham has used the scheme.

Councillor Adam Clarke, Leicester’s deputy mayor for environment and transport, said: “We’re a historic city.

“The road network has been built on a Roman footprint and it suffered from making way for the motor car in the post-war period, which attracted more cars, which has constrained the city.

“We have worked really hard to generate a shift to cycling, walking and the bus.

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“But there needs to be more than a step change, there needs to be a real leap if we’re going to meet our environmental, economic and health challenges.”

He said he wants to use the workplace parking levy more broadly to move away from car usage.

Councillor Clarke added: “Nottingham City Council has valuable experience of a WPL over the last 10 years or so, which is why we’ve been working closely with them in designing a scheme for our own city.

“The benefits of reducing traffic in the city are easy to see – anyone commuting during the school holidays can see how much difference even a 10 percent drop in vehicle numbers makes.

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