Parking law changes: Councils encouraged to launch new laws with drivers charged hundreds

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Local authorities in Scotland can now implement a Workplace Parking Levy (WPL), which charges businesses for every parking space they have. The scheme would see employers pay an annual levy to the council for parking spaces they provide for employees.

Many are concerned this could lead to drivers being charged, as employers can choose to pass the costs onto the employees.

Nottingham is the only city in the UK to utilise a WPL and currently charges drivers £458 a year per parking space.

Any revenue raised from the scheme would be reinvested back into the public transport infrastructure of the area.

Jenny Gilruth, Minister for Transport, praised the new measures, saying they were important for the Scottish Government’s net zero goals.

The MSP for Mid Fife and Glenrothes said: “The Workplace Parking Levy is a key tool which empowers local councils in encouraging people out of their cars and onto more sustainable modes of transport. 

“This is vitally important if we are to reach a 20 percent reduction in car kilometres by 2030.

“The revenue generated by these schemes must support policies in local transport strategies; which allows local authorities to raise finance and invest it according to local need. 

“The levy can also support improvements in public or active transport, making it more attractive and therefore encouraging individuals to leave their cars at home.

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“Providing guidance so that local authorities can make use of their discretionary powers to implement a WPL scheme not only devolves more responsibility to local government – a key priority for the Scottish Government – it also supports the vision and priorities set out in our National Transport Strategy.”

It is hoped the Strategy will create a fairer, greener transport system for everyone in Scotland to share and benefit from.

Parking places reserved for Blue Badge holders, certain parking places at qualifying NHS premises and parking places at hospices will be exempt from any charge.

Edinburgh City Council is exploring the possibility of introducing the WPL scheme across the city, with support from the Scottish National Party, Greens and Liberal Democrats.

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Some residents have voiced concerns about further charges when fuel prices, as well as other household bills, are continuing to rise.

A number of other councils have launched consultations to see the views of local residents and hear about the impact it would have on their working lives.

Earlier this year Glasgow City Council said it was actively considering the powers but no decision has yet been taken on putting a levy in place.

Retail bosses in Glasgow and across the country have called for “safeguards” to apply if WPLs are introduced.

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “Workplace parking levies are a charter for extra cost and complexity.

“It would see firms taxed twice for the parking places they provide for staff, on top of the business rates already paid on those spaces.”

A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council confirmed that before “the go-ahead is given”, a public consultation would be undertaken.

In January, Leicester unveiled plans to introduce a WPL which would raise £95million in the first 10 years of operation.

Under the proposals, most employers with more than 10 spaces would pay £550 per space per year.

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