15 May 2008

Nottingham's workplace levy

Nottingham City Council has authorised the UK's first Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) on 12 May. The proceeds of which will go towards improving public transport in the city.

When approved by the Transport Secretary one of the first beneficiaries of the money raised by charging people who park their car at their company's premises, is likely to be the 25% subsidy gap Notts City Council need to find to extend the Nottingham Express Transit (NET) tramway. Central government have already pledged to provide 75% of the cash needed.

An increase in Link bus services - routes that bridge the gaps left by commercial bus operators; an upgrade of Nottingham rail station; and increased support to city businesses for travel planning and parking maintenance are all likely beneficiaries of the WPL, just in case you thought the City Council were too pro-tram!

The decision to authorise the WPL follows a 12 week public and business consultation as well as a five-day public examination overseen by an independent inspector. It is likely to start in April 2010, and in its first year is expected to raise £5.6 million, increasing to £11.3 million per year from 2015.

Smaller businesses (i.e. those with 10 or less parking spaces) will not have to pay the WPL, nor will the estimated 125,000 people who use public transport, walk or cycle to work. Those parking at essential services are also exempt (GP surgeries, fire stations, Police stations etc). Tourists and shoppers are also exempt, so too are drivers registered disabled.

It is estimated that around 500 large employers would be charged an annual fee for each of the parking spaces it provides for its staff. The cost of each space would initially be £185 in April 2010, eventually rising in stages (linked to, but greater than, inflation) until 2015. From this year, rises in the WPL would increase by inflation only. Some employers are expected to pass on the £185 cost per parking space to their employees.