Drivers face new commuter tax

Latest green initiative being considered by councils could see drivers charged £1000 per year for the privilege of parking at work...

Cars parked outside office

Commuters who drive to work could have to pay to park on site if plans being considered by local authorities are adopted.

Businesses would be charged for each parking space they have, with the aim of discouraging car use, reducing pollution during rush hour, and raising money to fund new public transport initiatives.

However, the RAC has pointed out that these workplace parking levies (WPLs) are likely to be forwarded on to employees at a time when they’re already being hit hard in the pocket by soaring petrol prices and other increases in the cost of living.

Mini petrol station

Currently, only businesses in Nottingham are charged a yearly fee (£458 per space for car parks with more than 10 spaces), but at least 12 other areas in England are now considering similar schemes.

Of those, councils in Cambridge and Hounslow are planning to charge the most: up to £1000 per space per year.

In addition, last month the Scottish Government introduced legislation allowing councils to bring in WPLs, with Glasgow City Council expressing early interest.

Glasgow councillor Anna Richardson, city convener for sustainability and carbon reduction, said: “As part of the fight against climate change, a licensing scheme for workplace parking could raise substantial funds for sustainable transport projects.”

BMW 1 Series in traffic

Meanwhile, Adam Clarke, the deputy city mayor responsible for environment and transportation in Leicester – where the council is discussing a £550 annual charge – said: “We’re not anti-car; it’s about choosing the right mode [of transport] for each journey and also reducing congestion so those who do need to use cars have an easy trip.”

The RAC countered that WPLs would affect those on lower incomes the most. The motoring organisation’s roads policy chief Nicholas Lyes added: “The cost will almost certainly be passed down to workers, so in effect it becomes a tax on a person going to work.”

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