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Transform makes case to Parliament for Workplace Parking Levies

Published 29 May 2019 by Transform Scotland

Transform Scotland’s policy advisor Sue Flack today presented evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s transport committee on the proposal to provide Local Authorities with discretionary powers to implement Workplace Parking Levies.

Sue was instrumental in setting up the Nottingham WPL scheme, and made the case to the committee that Reading, Birmingham, Leicester, Oxford, Cambridge plus multiple London boroughs were openly exploring equivalent schemes, with a number of other English Local Authorities developing schemes in private.

Sue Flack said:

“Development of WPL in the UK is however not limited to Nottingham. Transport for London is providing guidance and support for London boroughs (due to go out to consultation in June), and are considering implementing a WPL in one or more of their Opportunity Areas (growth areas). Hounslow, Sutton and Merton, and Camden are all considering schemes, while others are also known to be doing so but plans are not yet in the public domain. Outside of London, Birmingham, Reading, Oxford and Leicester are all progressing schemes, while a number of others are also considering schemes, but, again, are not yet in the public domain.”

Transform Scotland director Colin Howden said:

“There is wide support for discretionary powers for Workplace Parking Levies to be given to Local Authorities. The WPL scheme is a success in England, is actively being pursued by many other English Local Authorities yet equivalent powers are denied to Scottish Local Authorities. Those opposed to these discretionary powers being provided to Scottish Local Authorities are manifestly just opposed to greater local decision-making.”

Organisations who have indicated support for WPL powers include:

  • Scotland’s Local Authorities through its representative body COSLA
  • The City of Edinburgh Council, Glasgow City Council and Dundee City Council
  • Public transport operators such as Lothian Buses, Stagecoach, and the bus industry body CPT Scotland
  • Regional Transport Partnerships such as Nestrans & Sestran
  • Third sector organisations such as Friends of the Earth Scotland, Get Glasgow Moving, Living Streets Scotland, Paths for All Spokes & Sustrans
  • The director of Scotland’s leading academic body on transport policy: Professor Tom Rye, the Director of Edinburgh Napier University’s Transport Research Institute.

Colin Howden commented:

“A number of the REC Committee’s members seem themselves pretty hostile. However, it is only two years since the Committee themselves pressed the Scottish Government to provide WPL powers in order to increase action on climate change. In the face of the Climate Emergency subsequently declared by the First Minister, and the requirement to redouble action to reduce emissions, it is disappointing that many of the Committee members now seem to have changed their tune.” 

In its March 2017 report to on the draft Climate Change Plan, the REC Committee argued that “greater consideration is given to policies that will control demand and encourage modal shift away from private cars.” The Committee then went on to state its opinion on WPL specifically:

“The Committee is of the view that demand management measures such as low emission zones and workplace parking levies have potential to make a significant emissions reduction contribution. It therefore calls on the Scottish Government to consider whether these measures should be afforded increased prominence in the final CCP.“

Public support for WPL is demonstrated by the Parliament REC Committee’s own online poll which, in a high response of 4598, found 58% in favour of WPL.