What’s Going On Here?
Nottingham City Council implemented a workplace parking levy in 2012 and they are back in the news as Bristol City Council has also been considering one to reduce congestion caused by commuters.
What Does This Mean?
A Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) is a charge on employers who provide parking spaces for their employees. Employers are required to obtain an annual licence for the number of liable spaces they provide (there are some exemptions e.g. disabled blue badge parking bays).
In Bristol, Green Councillors proposed a motion requiring the council to set out a plan to implement a WPL as soon as possible. The motion, however, was watered down after councillors from other parties voted to remove points calling for timely action in favour of further consideration and consultation.
Why Should We Care?
Congestion in cities is something nobody likes but, understandably, many people feel tied to their personal cars as a mode of transport.
This is where WPLs come in – they are a double whammy of carrot and stick when it comes to encouraging people out of their cars. They provide both a level of financial deterrent, the stick, and a revenue stream to fund alternatives like better public transport, the carrot.
Now, no one likes a stick, but Nottingham credits its WPL with helping avoid implementation of other, potentially more controversial, initiatives such as Clean Air Zones (CAZ). Rather than targeting individual drivers, like a CAZ does, WPL schemes encourage system level change by putting the burden on businesses.
The revenue generated by WPLs is ring fenced by law to be used on local transport improvements. In Nottingham the WPL has directly raised over £75m and is credited with unlocking more than £600m of other inward investment. This has been spent on, amongst other things, an expanded tram network, new cycle lanes, and upgraded bus and train infrastructure.
Of course, there are nuances (Be Curious!) but the future seems bright for WPLs.
Read more about Nottingham’s award-winning scheme here.
Could you car share on your commute? There are many apps out there to facilitate this, for example liftshare.
You can support alternatives to private car use by checking out the Campaign for Better Transport here.