In the coming weeks, the Scottish Government will set out Transport Bill before the Scottish Parliament, before the Parliament enters its summer break at the end of June. The campaign group Transform Scotland published a set of suggestions that it called on the Scottish Government to include in the Bill, including a ban on pavement parking and levies on non-residential parking.
Such levies on parking, like the workplace parking scheme, are currently options in England to local authorities, but not in Scotland. An example of a workplace parking levies scheme in practice is in Nottingham, in England. Employers with more than 10 parking spaces for staff are paying £402 per space and year. Nottingham Council reinvests the income in public transport development, such as its tram network, the city train station and local bus services. Since 2012, £44 million had been raised by the levy and spent. The acceptance levels from employers seem to be high, since Nottingham Council states full compliance with the scheme.
The Nottingham parking levies scheme resulted in significant changes in modal choices in favour of public transport, walking and cycling according to Professor Tom Rye from Edinburgh Napier University’s Transport Research Institute. He states that “at a time where local authority budgets are increasingly stretched and funding for sustainable transport infrastructure is limited, parking levies offer a clear solution to fund improved transport infrastructure whilst simultaneously tackling issues with air pollution, carbon emissions and congestion.”
Now, Transform Scotland expects to see changes to the Transport Bill, such as the inclusion of non-residential parking levies, to seize the opportunity of effectively tackling congestion and promoting public transport use.
Transport Scotland calls the initiatives of Transform Scotland useful but is not yet giving information away as to whether and how the ideas from the campaigners might be included. However, they express their respect for the Transform Scotland's contributions and hoped for further engagement after the introduction of the bill.
Reactions from the Scottish Retail Consortium were sceptical to the idea of workplace parking levies, seeing in these just another tax on firms and the danger to opening options for taxes on customer parking, too.
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Story first published by BBC on 5th of June 2018.