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Council set to begin discussions about workplace parking levy

Published on Wednesday, August 14, 2019

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DISCUSSIONS about the idea of a workplace parking levy in Leicester are to get underway.

The city council intends to consult on a scheme that would charge organisations providing parking spaces for employees as a means of funding local transport improvements whilst helping cut congestion and traffic pollution.

To date, Nottingham is the only UK city to have introduced a workplace parking levy. This has been in operation since 2012 and has brought in over £60million, which the council has invested in public transport including tram, bus and railway station improvements.

Other local authorities – including Birmingham, Oxford, Reading, Edinburgh, and several London boroughs – are also actively investigating the introduction of similar schemes.

Leicester City Council is developing a new Local Transport Plan setting out the future transport vision for the city and how this could be funded, including potentially through a workplace parking levy. Initial consultation on this plan will be followed by a statutory public consultation on the workplace parking levy. This is likely to take around 18 months to two years.

Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on environment and transportation, said: “Like many cities, Leicester faces real challenges to improve air quality, cut congestion and encourage more people to make the shift to sustainable, clean transport options.

“It is essential that we continue to invest in transport improvements that encourage more people to walk, cycle and take the bus.

“There is a lot of work that needs to be done before we can consult on our case for a workplace parking levy, including developing a new local transport plan that reflects the opportunities that this new funding would allow us to explore.

“While that work is ongoing, we will be approaching businesses and other relevant organisations and aiming to start a discussion around the city’s transport challenges and how we can fund future improvements. We’re at a very early stage of a lengthy process.”

City Mayor Peter Soulsby added: “While we have been extremely successful in attracting major funding from Government and other sources, a workplace parking levy would provide a reliable and ongoing source of locally-controlled funding to help us commit to ambitious, long-term transport improvements.

“These could for example include the electrification of the city’s bus fleet, a more comprehensive network of bus and cycle routes across the city, improvements to major transport hubs like the railway station and more work to reduce traffic pollution in the city.

“No decisions have been made yet, but we do want to consult on the idea of the workplace parking levy as a means of a funding future transport improvements.”

To set the ball rolling, City Mayor Peter Soulsby and Cllr Adam Clarke are planning to host a Twitter question and answer session on Tuesday 10 September.

The process for introducing a workplace parking levy is set out in the Transport Act 2000. Any proposed scheme will be subject to approval from the Secretary of State for Transport.

All income raised from a workplace parking scheme in Leicester could only be spent on transport schemes included in the Local Transport Plan. The city’s renewed transport plan is due to be consulted on in early 2020.

It is likely that a formal consultation on a workplace levy will take place in early 2021.

Plans to consult on the introduction a workplace parking levy are due to be discussed at the next meeting of the council’s Economic development, Transport and Tourism scrutiny committee on Thursday 22 August.

To find out more about how a workplace parking levy might work, the process for implementation and the forthcoming consultation, visit www.leicester.gov.uk/WorkplaceParkingLevy

Consulting on a levy for employers with parking spaces and investing this income in cleaner, greener transport schemes is one of a range of actions the city council plans to help tackle the climate crisis.

Experts now predict that unless drastic action is taken, we are less than 12 years away from global heating becoming irreversible, with catastrophic results. In response, Leicester City Council declared a climate emergency in February 2019.

Local initiatives such as creating more cycle tracks in the city, promoting sustainable transport, setting up a renewable energy company, installing more solar panels on council buildings and promoting take-up of electric vehicles are already under way.

With Government support, the city council could be on track to be carbon neutral before 2030.