London Boroughs developing workplace parking levy (WPL) schemes should set the charge at a minimum of £750 per space per year, according to new draft guidance published by the mayor of London.
The recommended charge is far higher than the £415 that applies in Nottingham, the only place to have introduced a levy.
A number of London boroughs are exploring using the levy powers. Hounslow is the most advanced, having consulted on a scheme last autumn (LTT 20 Aug & 23 Nov 18).
Legislation also allows the mayor (through Transport for London) to implement workplace parking levy schemes anywhere in Greater London and to direct a borough to make a WPL scheme within its area.
The draft guidance says TfL-led WPL schemes are a possibility “in Opportunity Areas such as Old Oak Common or for major new infrastructure such as river crossings”.
“It is also possible that boroughs or TfL could collaborate with other bodies to develop WPL schemes covering areas for which those bodies have responsibilities,” it says. “This may be appropriate in the case of Heathrow Airport and Mayoral Development Corporations, for example.”
To ensure some consistency between schemes across London, the guidance says the mayor will expect an initial minimum charge rate of £750 per space per year (2019 prices). “It is advised that licensing authorities consider setting a charge which is higher than this. The charge should be increased annually in line with inflation (as measured by RPI).”
In a report to London Councils last month, Alina Tuerk, TfL’s delivery planning manager for city planning, said TfL was seeking views on both a minimum charge of £750 and different minimum rates for outer, inner and central London.
The levy will apply to parking spaces occupied by employers, employees, agents, suppliers, business visitors, students and pupils in the course of their business or education. Employers are liable for paying the licence, though they can pass the charge on to individuals.
The mayor expects exemptions for fleet vehicles, delivery vehicles, and occasional business visitors. In addition, a 100 per cent discount must be offered to blue badge spaces. Discounts could be offered to electric vehicle spaces, “perhaps for a limited time period while the transition to electric vehicles takes place”.
A 100 per cent discount should also apply to small businesses, defined by having fewer than a specified number of liable parking places.
Said Tuerk: “There is no expectation that an NHS discount or other public sector concession is given.”
Acknowledging that Nottingham City Council does provide an NHS discount, she said that, in London, “this is a matter for local decision-making”, adding that “such a discount can diminish the effects of the scheme”.
All proposed workplace parking levy schemes in London must be submitted to the mayor for confirmation and all schemes, including the use of revenues, must conform with the mayor’s transport strategy.
TfL can require boroughs to pass on a portion of WPL revenues. “It remains the case that it may be appropriate for some or all of the scheme revenue to be distributed beyond the licensing authority,” says the guidance. “For example, this could be the case when TfL is responsible for developing or operating some of the projects to be funded from WPL revenue.”
An initial ten-year plan for the use of WPL revenues must be approved by both the Secretary of State and the mayor, as must ongoing four-year spending programmes.?
The Government has yet to make regulations allowing WPLs to be introduced in London. Tuerk said TfL had commissioned law firm Bircham Dyson Bell to produce draft regulations “in order to facilitate their speedy adoption into law”.
“TfL has been in regular contact with DfT and it is understood to be amenable in principle to progressing these regulations,” she said. “The lack of these regulations is not a hindrance to the development of schemes – which in any case is likely to take two-three years – but they are necessary for their effective implementation.”
The guidance should be finalised in October.
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