Plan to charge drivers £600 to park in some UK spaces scrapped

Plans to charge drivers £600 a year to park on Edinburgh's streets have been shelved. Edinburgh City Council has abandoned plans to introduce a Workplace Parking Levy that would have seen drivers pay an extra £600 annually for parking.

The proposed scheme, which was part of the council's City Mobility Plan and 2030 Climate Strategy, aimed to reduce car mileage by around 30% and prevent vehicles from congesting the city.

Councils are charged with improving the quality of air in their areas - which has led to the clean air zone in Birmingham. However, following a public consultation, the council decided against implementing the levy due to significant public backlash.

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The levy, available to Scottish councils since 2022, allows local authorities to charge employers an annual fee for employee parking spaces.

Despite this, parking spots reserved for Blue Badge holders, NHS healthcare workers, and hospices would be exempt from charges. During a recent Transport and Environment Committee meeting, councillors discussed a public survey regarding the proposed levy.

The online survey, conducted between November 15, 2023, and February 3, 2024, revealed that 76% of respondents expressed concern about city congestion.

Despite a survey indicating public support for the levy scheme, the council would have had to fork out £100,000 to get it off the ground - a cost it simply couldn't shoulder.

The levy was projected to rake in between £10million and £12million annually once fully operational in Edinburgh.

Scott Arthur, a councillor from the Scottish Labour Party, acknowledged that opinions in the city were divided.

He commented: "It seems a lot of people don't think a city-wide scheme would work, there's talk of a zoned scheme in the city, or perhaps one that just focused on the city centre."

"And some employers said the rules weren't entirely clear to them and that's because the council has still to largely define how the scheme would work in Edinburgh."

On the other hand, Councillor Marie-Clair Munro, who represents the Scottish Conservatives, dismissed the proposed levy as nothing more than a "tax by another name".