Drivers face work car park charges
Councils across the country are pushing ahead with plans to charge for parking at workplaces, it has emerged.
Authorities including Bristol, York, Devon, Hampshire, Leeds, Bournemouth, South Somerset and Wiltshire are considering introducing levies in an effort to raise funds and cut congestion, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The news comes despite ministers pledging to end what they described as Labour's "war on motorists" within days of coming to power.
An estimated 10 million people drive to work every day, and they could potentially face fees of hundreds of pounds a year each.
Nottingham City Council is due to be the first council to impose a levy, with all employers offering more than 11 spaces for staff charged £250 for each one. It will be up to companies whether they pass the cost on. In a draft strategy, Bristol City Council describes the levy as a "revenue stream" to help fund other transport initiatives.
Under proposals being considered by York City Council, the charge would be paid "by the employer or charged to the employee". In Leeds, officials view the levy as an "important consideration in formulating a long-term strategy".
A Hampshire County Council consultation document says it is considering a "modest" - but unspecified - charge for the south of the region, including Southampton and Portsmouth, to "redress the imbalance between free commuter parking for some staff at office complexes" and "parking for other staff in public spaces where payment is required".
A spokesman for South Somerset District Council said: "Looking at reducing car travel to offices is something we are required to do, and the possibility of introducing some form of parking levy is one of many ideas that have been floated within our council."
In London, a number of councils are said to be attending a seminar next month that has a workplace parking levy on the agenda. Authorities in Milton Keynes, Cambridge and Oxford have all previously expressed an interest.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, expressed concern that so many councils were considering levies. He said: "Councils have had the power to impose workplace parking levies for a decade now. The power was given to deal with congestion, not to raise general revenue. There will be a lot of raised eyebrows amongst the nation's 34 million motorists that now, after ten years when no local authority introduced the scheme, so many are considering introducing the levy in the middle of a financial crisis."