Electric vehicle owners in central London are set to be charged extra to park under new rules being brought in by a Labour council.
Westminster city council has unveiled plans to overhaul its current parking charges in a bid to “encourage the use of low-polluting vehicles”.
However, the new charges could increase the cost of parking an electric vehicle for a four-hour period by as much as 1,800 per cent in some areas.
The move has been slammed by Conservative politicians, who say it is “bad for business, residents and the environment”.
The plans will also mean locals with electric vehicles will be charged for resident permits for the first time.
Vehicles with larger batteries are set to pay more due to having a higher carbon footprint during their construction, taking up more space and causing more wear and tear to the road.
Westminster city council became Labour-led for the first time in its 60-year history after this year’s local elections.
Under current parking rules, owners of EVs or plug-in hybrids only have to pay for the first 10 minutes to obtain the maximum stay in the bay, which is commonly four hours.
This means that an EV owner can pay as little as 96p for a four-hour stay in the borough’s most expensive parking zone.
The new proposals, which are set to come in in April, will scrap this rule and parking in the same zone will increase to £18.18.
The rise could be steeper for those owners who might need to park for the day, such as tradespeople, with an eight-hour stay set to cost £36.96 under the new proposals. This is an 1,800 per cent increase on the £1.93 motorists currently have to pay.
‘Hike not good for business, climate change or residents’
Ed Pitt Ford, a local Conservative councillor, criticised the move. He said: “The council are proposing a massive tax hike on electric vehicle drivers as they increase parking charges by up to 1,800 per cent on EVs.
“Particularly hard-hit will be tradespeople and small businesses who have done the right thing by switching to EVs and will now see charges increase by up to £35 a day. It’s not good for business, it’s not good for climate change and it’s not good for residents.”
Nickie Aiken, MP for Westminster, said: “It beggars belief that at a time when the Labour Party nationally is calling for more support for businesses to grow the economy, Labour-run Westminster council wants to increase parking fees by a staggering 1,800 per cent for small businesses doing the right thing with a greener vehicle.”
Justifying its decision in the document, the council said that the existing charging structure was unsustainable with the rapid growth of EVs and an emissions-based approach would future-proof the service.
The council also said it runs a tradesperson’s permit scheme, which starts at £20.90 per day for businesses.
Other changes will include the council bringing in new resident permit parking charges for drivers of EVs and hybrids from April 2025.
Under these new charges owners will be charged on the size of their EV batteries, with vehicles with 69kWh batteries to be charged £40 per year and 70kWh vehicles £80 per year.
Higher charges aimed at larger EV batteries
In a document outlining the decision, the council said that higher charge was to cover larger EV SUVs and sports cars, which have significant carbon imprint from the production and recycling of the battery.
The council also explained that bigger batteries meant larger and heavier vehicles, which took up more space and caused more wear to the road.
The parking changes will also see the council refresh its parking charges by moving away from basing costs on engine size, to emissions-based charges. This will mean a yearly parking permit for the most polluting vehicles, will need to pay £321, an additional £200 for some vehicles.
Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg said: “Westminster city council has invested heavily in electric vehicle infrastructure to encourage people to switch to EVs and low polluting vehicles.
“Westminster has more than 2,500 electric vehicle chargers across the city, including rapid chargers, which is more than any other local authority in the UK. And 50 per cent of our waste collection fleet is now made up of zero-emission electric vehicles.
“Until now, pay to park charges for EVs in Westminster have been extremely low, and to keep up with the increasing demand for EVs, the council is moving to an emissions-based charging system. The new scheme will support the growth of electric vehicles in the city while keeping charges fair, proportionate, and as low as possible.
“Westminster residents with an EV will pay less than £1.50 to park their car outside their home, and visitors with EVs who pay to park will still be paying considerably less than in neighbouring London boroughs.”