Motorists' relief

Council scraps plan for workplace parking levy

fuel duty cars
Commuters will not be hit for parking their cars at work

Motorists who commute into Edinburgh will not be charged for parking at their place of work after the city council abandoned plans to impose a charge on company car parks.

City councillors voted to drop plans for a workplace parking levy following concerns that drivers would park in nearby residential streets, and that shift workers and those without adequate public transport would be among those most affected.

Under the proposed scheme, each worker may have faced an annual charge of £650 if employers chose not to absorb the cost.

The council estimated the scheme could raise up to £12m a year to reinvest in the capital’s public transport help achieve its goal to cut car journeys by 30% over the next five years.

Kevin Lang, leader of the council’s Lib Dems, who previously supported the consultation going ahead, said his group “just don’t think it’s going to work”.

Commuters could, in many parts of the city, “very easily avoid paying any charge at all simply by parking on a residential street and walking along a footway or across a road”.

He said there was “absolutely no guarantee here of any new bus services from this,” adding he could not see how these disadvantages could be resolved in time before the levy was introduced.”

Labour transport convener Scott Arthur, an opponent of the scheme since it was mooted, said the WPL alone would not solve the city’s congestion problem.

He said: “It’s not a silver bullet but it could, if integrated with a wider suite of powers, have a part to play particularly through funding rather than actually discouraging people to use their vehicles.”

The consultation attracted responses from more than 2,600 individuals and more than 30 from businesses and organisations.

The Scottish Retail Consortium gave both written and oral evidence to the Scottish Parliament when the relevant legislation was initially introduced five years ago.

Director David Lonsdale said: “This decision by Edinburgh City Council is encouraging. Workplace parking levies are a charter for extra cost and complexity and would see firms taxed twice for the parking places they provide for colleagues, on top of the business rates already paid on those spaces.”

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