Scottish Government urged to back parking levy

A Scottish sustainable transport group – Transform Scotland – has called for the introduction of a Workplace Parking Levy to boost uptake in walking and public transport use.

The policy proposal is one of a number of recommendations in the group’s ‘Getting the Bill Right’ policy paper, released ahead of the expected publication of the Scottish Government’s Transport Bill this month.

A parking levy would create a charge on employers who provide workplace parking

Transform Scotland has called for the Bill to put in place enabling legislation for the creation of Private Non-Residential Parking Levies, with funds raised through Levies hypothecated for investment into sustainable transport.

The parking levy would create a charge on employers who provide workplace parking, in order to incentivise them to encourage employees to move away from private-car usage.

According to the organisation, parking levies ‘have been proven to reduce the use of private cars in urban areas, whilst increasing the use of public transport and active travel’.

The group adds that parking levies are ‘one of the most effective and publicly acceptable ways’ to control the use of private cars in urban areas, as the charge is levied on premises, not individuals.

Transform Scotland cites the example of such a scheme introduced in Nottingham, which it claims has “resulted in a significant increase in modal shift to public transport, walking and cycling; a 33% reduction in carbon emissions; and has raised over £25 million of revenue which has been reinvested in the city’s transport infrastructure.”

Opportunity

Commenting on the publication of the paper, Colin Howden, director of Transform Scotland, said: “It is by now clear that the previous transport bills passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2001 and 2005 were ineffective in cutting congestion or pollution, or reversing the decline in bus use. This year’s Transport Bill provides an important opportunity to start turning round some of these problems.

“We look forward to welcoming many of the measures expected to be contained in the Bill. However, we are keen that it be strengthened so that, unlike the earlier transport Acts, this new Transport Bill provides effective powers to achieve a transformation in how our transport system functions.”

Other measures recommended in the paper include creating a new decriminalised offence to enforce bus lanes and cycle lanes, allowing local authorities to take on lane rental powers and permit schemes (in order to cut disruption from road works), and simplifying local authorities’ powers for improving local transport.

Professor Tom Rye of Edinburgh Napier University’s Transport Research Institute advised Transform Scotland on preparation of its report. Professor Rye commented: “Parking levies are one of the most effective ways to control the use of private cars in urban areas. Nottingham City Council’s Workplace Parking Levy scheme has resulted in a significant modal shift to public transport, walking and cycling, and has raised over £25 million for the city’s transport infrastructure.

“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.”

Related Links
Transform Scotland – Getting the Bill Right