Two weeks left to comment on proposed workplace parking tax

Posted on Tuesday, March 1, 2022

PEOPLE are reminded to make their views heard at a public consultation on the Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) proposals which lasts another two weeks.

The city council is proposing the citywide scheme under which large employers would pay to provide parking spaces for their staff – the revenue from the scheme helping to fund a radical overhaul and long-term modernization of parking networks. public transportation, biking and walking in the city. .

An extensive 12-week public consultation runs until Sunday March 13, giving individuals and employers the opportunity to get more details about the proposed WPL and how it will work, and to comment on the program.

These improvements are essential to meet the strict climate emergency and air quality targets set by the government and the city council itself, as well as to deal with congestion and connect new housing estates to sustainable transport.

Under the WPL, most employers with more than 10 spaces would pay £550 per space per year for a license to provide parking for their employees. The high number of small businesses in Leicester means around nine in 10 are too small to pay.

Employers can decide to reduce their spaces, and also decide if and how they want to pass the loads on to their staff.

The income from a WPL could be around £95m in the first 10 years and would allow the council to match other grants to invest up to £450m. This would mean the council could plan long-term investments in transportation rather than simply relying on uncertain government funds.

The WPL is designed to encourage people who regularly travel to the city for work to use alternatives to the car for their daily journeys, while funding the improvements needed to ensure that public transport, bicycle and transport networks City walks provide realistic alternatives to car travel.

Plans for a WPL were presented as part of the council’s draft Leicester Transport Plan 2021-2036, published last summer, which set out priorities to meet the city’s transport needs over the next 15 years. Transportation priorities that a WPL would help fund include:

  • Over 400 high-quality electric tram-type buses by 2030, operating on 25 Mainline services in city districts, and five Greenline suburban express services linking six park and ride facilities.
  • New bus services on the outer ring road and free bus traffic on a city center loop.
  • Prioritize buses on key routes to ensure they run regularly and frequently, using tickets that can be used on different bus services and displaying real-time bus information.
  • Affordable bus fares with discounts for the elderly, disabled, young and unemployed and the ability for all travelers to get the ‘best fare’ on all routes across the city.
  • A comprehensive network of city-wide bike paths connecting existing downtown routes to local neighborhoods.
  • Investment in the rail station to ensure good regional and national connections and to take advantage of the recently secured £22m funding to revamp the station.

A WPL has been operating successfully across Nottingham for almost 10 years, and Leicester City Council is working closely with Nottingham City Council and De Montfort University Leicester, to assess the economic, environmental, transport and of such a program in Leicester. .

Several other local councils, including Bristol and Oxford, are also considering introducing a WPL.

The program would require government approval, after which the program could start in early 2023. The city council would work closely with local employers well in advance to prepare them for its introduction. Between 450 and 600 large companies in the city are likely to be eligible for the program.

The Deputy Mayor of the City of Leicester, Transport and Environment Officer, Cllr Adam Clarke said: “The proposals are designed to address the climate emergency, as well as the inequities and health pressures that will accompany the city’s projected growth over the next 10 to 15 years.

“Revenue from a tax would directly fund measures that are vital as we strive to reach net zero, reduce life-limiting poor air quality and minimize costly traffic jams.

“We produced a short film, outlining our vision and how a WPL could help us achieve it.

“Nottingham City Council have operated a very similar WPL for around 10 years, and they share their experience and expertise with us.

“We gathered evidence of how the tax was collected fairly and designed a program to expand opportunities for everyone, including the many people in the city who cannot afford a car.

“We need to radically expand, improve and electrify public transport if we are to persuade people to leave their cars at home, leaving those who still need to use their cars and vans with fewer traffic jams, making them save time and money.

“We have no fixed timetable proposed for the introduction of any levy, which should be sensitive to wider economic circumstances.

“We know there are other concerns and of course we need to think about any potential unintended consequences. We need to hear from people across the city to hear their concerns as well as what they would expect from such a scheme and how to make it work best for Leicester.

“Before responding to the consultation, I urge everyone to take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on our website, addressing the issues and misconceptions we have identified in our many meetings across the city. over the past few weeks.”

WPL’s proposals are the final stage of work to meet the city’s transportation needs. The City Council is also working on its Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP), setting out ambitious plans that would significantly improve bus services, vehicles and routes across Leicester in an innovative 10-year project involving a formal partnership between the city council and the local bus. the operators.

Leicester City Council also recently landed £19million from the government’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme, towards a £47million scheme that will see the introduction of nearly 100 new electric buses.

To read the frequently asked questions, watch the short film and participate in the consultation visit here.

(Ends)

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