PEAK PARKING CHARGES
|Nottingham are letting the local
businesses foot the congestion bill
Congestion charging seems to be the way forward,
and now urban areas like Nottingham and the rural region in the
Peak District are to enforce a pay-as-you-drive charge. But is it
such a good idea? Inside Out investigates.
Ever since London introduced the congestion charge, cities
over Britain are contemplating joining the congestion train.
Nottingham is now planning to introduce a congestion
charge, not for people driving into the city centre, but for all local
companies with a parking lot, and the commuters parking there will have
to foot the bill.
This workplace levy isn't favoured by many, but did feature
in the 2002 Transport Act as one way of reducing city centre congestion.
Nottingham City Council is the only authority to implement
this business-aimed congestion charge, which will charge any office with
a car park per space.
The extra costs for the offices will be passed on to
the commuters who use them, making them pay the congestion charge.
The idea behind the workplace levy is to introduce congestion
charges for the ones who cause it, not the visitors and shoppers in Nottingham.
The fewer parking spaces the workplaces have, the cheaper
it will be for the employer, although the actual charging level is yet
to be set.
Nottingham's big employer, Imperial Tobacco, argues that
the 'workplace levy' is unfair.
for the privilege to work - Imperial Tobacco don't believe in the
new congestion charges|
There are two reasons for this. The plant isn't situated
in Nottingham city centre, and majority of its workers work mainly shifts
and then travel outside peak periods.
Roger Speakman at Imperial Tobacco says, "We don't
think it's an appropriate way of dealing with congestion.
"We believe that it's a very convenient method for
Nottingham City Council to raise revenue and it'd be very easy from their
point of view to administer it."
Gary Smerdon-Wright with Greater Nottingham Transport
Partnership believes that the congestion charge is vital in order to improve
"We need to deliver a 21st Century transport system
for the city."
The London congestion charge, which was introduced in
February 2003, has cut traffic by 30%, but it is not as profitable as
"So if zone charging is already tried and tested
in the capital, why is Nottingham's scheme so different? Could the question
of revenue be influencing the city council's decision?" Inside Out's
Anne Davies asks.
The first rural congestion scheme
It's not only city centres that are introducing the congestion
charges. Derbyshire's Peak District sees a lot of congestion, especially
round weekends and bank holidays.
Peak District National Park attracts between 16 and 20
million visitors every year and some 95% of the visitors arrive by car.
One recent August bank holiday, some 2,500 vehicles fought their way to
a car park that has space for fewer than 200 cars.
Plans are to gate the route round Ladybower Reservoir
and to offer visitors the choice of reaching the lake by shuttle bus or
paying to drive there.
Derbyshire County Council is in charge of the congestion
plans and Steven Cannon is aware of the attention the scheme is getting.
|The Peak District will soon see
more parked cars - or so is the plan|
"This is the first congestion charge that's been
looked at in a rural area, so there's a lot of interest in this scheme
to see how it works."
The money raised will go towards improving public transport
in the area.
The question is, how long does it take to raise the funding
to provide adequate public transport? Shouldn't the alternative for motorists
be in place before the county forces them out of their cars?
The date for introducing the charge at weekends and bank
holidays hasn't been set yet, but it won't take long before it's a reality.