Nottingham has seen a 33% reduction in carbon emissions since 2005, according to data released by the city council.
The local authority set the area a target of a 26% reduction by 2020, but the latest figures mean that the target has been beaten this year.
According to the city council – Nottingham is now producing three tonnes less of CO2 per year per person than they were in 2005.
In 2012 Nottingham introduced a workplace parking levy, which saw businesses with 11 or more employees parking on their premises paying the £381 charge.
The city council claims the levy, which has 100% compliance rate, has enabled it to invest in better public transport to tackle air pollution and traffic congestion in Nottingham.
In 2014 the local authority expanded its electric bus fleet to 50 partly thanks to the government’s green bus fund (see airqualitynews.com story).
A council spokesman said: “The workplace parking levy has contributed to the reduction in carbon emissions in Nottingham by providing us with the revenue to invest in an integrated public transport system for the city.”
Councillor Nick McDonald, lead for business, growth and transport, believes Nottingham is setting an example for the rest of the country.
He said: “A significant part of this reduction – around 13% – is due to the popularity of public transport, cycling and walking in Nottingham.
“Certainly, the workplace parking levy is a unique policy in the UK at the moment. But we believe it has the potential to help many cities deal with congestion and air quality issues. It enables us to invest in low-carbon transport, and the fact it provides regulation, and to some extent, constraint on city centre usage are significant things.”
The campaign for Better Transport has called on other local authorities to introduce the levy.
Bridget Fox, sustainable transport campaigner, said: “This fantastic record is one that other local authorities should follow. Councils have had these powers since 2000, and Nottingham shows how well they can work.”
However, a spokesman for the East Midlands Chamber revealed the introduction of the parking levy wasn’t all plain sailing.
He said: “The council had a target and they achieved it, so well done to them. Employers passed on the levy to their employees by reducing staff parking, or by not supplying staff parking at all.
“In the beginning there was a lot of anxiety as there wasn’t a lot of information available about the levy.
“However, the workplace parking levy has not had an impact on businesses taking up office space in Nottingham. Public transport in the city has improved, and we all know improving public transport means more people will use it.”