Workplace parking charge plans published by Scottish Greens

Controversial proposals to give councils the power to introduce a workplace parking levy have been published by the Scottish Greens.

The party’s transport spokesman John Finnie has submitted amendments to legislation already going through Holyrood in a bid to hand local authorities the new ability.

The Scottish Government has already pledged to back the amendments as part of its budget deal with the Greens.

But the plan has sparked an angry response from other opposition parties at Holyrood, with the Tories raising fears commuters could be forced to pay hundreds of pounds a year to park at their workplaces.

The amendments were published as the Scottish Parliament’s Connectivity Committee launched an online survey to determine how much support there is for such schemes in Scotland.

Councils south of the border already have the ability to introduce work place parking levies, with Mr Finnie saying: “My amendment will allow Scottish councils to implement a workplace parking levy in our most polluted cities, a power that already exists elsewhere in the UK.”

He said workplace parking levies, where they had been brought in, had “cut congestion and pumped millions into public transport”.

The Green MSP added: “It is remarkable that the parties who talk so often of the precious union are the ones who are happy to see English councils enjoy greater powers that their Scottish counterparts.”

Mr Finnie’s amendments to the Transport Bill specify that before a council can introduce a workplace parking levy it would first have to publish an outline of its proposed scheme and carry out a consultation.

A report would then have to be drawn up detailing the responses to this consultation, with the authority required to set out its reasons for going ahead with such a scheme.

There would be exemptions for disabled parking spaces and for NHS premises such as hospitals – as specified by the Government.

Hospices would also be exempt from the scheme, according to the amendments.

Mr Finnie challenged other parties to back the measure, saying: “The evidence shows that thousands die annually as a result of poor quality air.

“Yet the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems all happily attempt to make cheap political points, all the while doing nothing to improve the situation. ”

Edward Mountain, the convener of the Connectivity Committee said: “Giving councils this additional power could result in extra financial costs to businesses, public bodies and individual commuters.

“It would also give local authorities who wish to discourage commuting by car an extra tool to achieve this.

“While we know that the idea has divided opinion across Scotland, to help MSPs properly consider this proposal we want to hear from as many people as possible.”

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS