Memorandum by Transport
Committee for London (IT 171)
INTEGRATED TRANSPORT WHITE PAPER
1. The Transport Committee for London is a statutory
joint committee of all 33 London local authorities and has responsibilities
in a number of areas, principally:
Transport for people with disabilities,
including concessionary fares for elderly and disabled people
and the Taxicard scheme.
Operation of the London night time
and weekend lorry ban.
Operation of the Parking Appeals
Setting parking penalties.
Operation of the TRACE service relating
to clamped and removed vehicles, and other operations connected
with parking enforcement.
The operations of London's traffic
signals and control systems, through the Traffic Control Systems
Unit (which is due to be transferred to the GLA).
2. The Committee welcomes the publication of
the first White Paper on Transport policy for more than 20 years.
3. The Committee supports the objectives of
the White Paper in general and agrees that better integration,
at all levels, is essential for this.
4. The Committee agrees that reducing the volume
of car use and increasing the attractiveness of public transport,
walking and cycling is essential both to improve accessibility
within London and to reduce the environmental impact of transport,
particularly air pollution, in London.
5. Many of the detailed proposals of the White
Paper lie outside the Committee's terms of reference at present.
There, however, significant proposals which the Committee can
properly comment on. These include:
parking proposals, including enforcement
and the workplace parking levy;
congestion charging and its enforcement;
travel for people with mobility handicaps;
6. The White Paper sees parking control as one
of the key elements to control traffic levels in cities and proposes
a variety of measures to address this. These include:
better regulation and charging of
workplace parking levy.
7. The London boroughs have considerable experience
of the first two of these subjects since the implementation of
the 1991 Road Traffic Act, which decriminalised the enforcement
of most parking regulations within London and transferred the
responsibility for enforcement to the London boroughs.
8. Decriminalised enforcement has been a success
on three main counts:
9. The London boroughs have managed to increase
the level of enforcement to almost double the extent of the Metropolitan
Police during the early 1990 with a consequent and measurable
impact on compliance.
10. This has been achieved without increasing
the level of public disquiet over parking enforcement because:
boroughs have reviewed parking regulations
as a result of having enforcement responsibility;
direct political accountability for
the style of enforcement is achieved through local councils;
parking adjudicators provide an easily
accessible and independent mechanism for challenging enforcement
11. Retention of the penalty income by boroughs
has ensured that in most cases enforcement now takes place at
no cost to the public purse, while surpluses in some boroughs,
which are statutorily ring fenced, help support worthwhile public
transport improvements such as London's concessionary fares scheme
as well as traffic calming measures.
12. This is not to say that enforcement is perfect.
There are, indeed, further changes that are needed both in legislation
and approach. The London boroughs have sponsored some changes
to the legislation in the 1995 London Local Authorities Act and
further changes are currently being pursued through a current
London Local Authorities Bill. Borough priorities are also changing
to give greater emphasis on, for example, enforcement of bus lanes
and bus corridors and this may also change the emphasis of enforcement,
for example, by relying more on mobile parking attendants and
tow-away vehicles than before.
13. Overall, though, decriminalised parking
enforcement by local authorities is successful and is worth considering
as a model for other forms of traffic enforcement, particularly
camera enforcement of offences such as moving (as opposed to stationary)
contraventions of bus lane regulations (already legislated for)
and red light jumping.
14. Parking enforcement and parking control
must be seen, however, in terms of what is acceptable to the public
and "artificial" restrictions, whose values is not apparent
to the motoring public are hard to enforce and artificially high
charges are difficult to sustain politically. The Committee supports
advice from LPAC that parking charges should be set so as to aim
to achieve 85 per cent occupancy rates.
15. As tools for reducing levels of traffic,
parking controls, on their own, will be hard to apply in
practice. If, however, accompanied with other devices to reallocate
road space (such as, to bus or cycle lanes, better pavement facilities
and street furniture, better crossing facilities for pedestrians
or more loading spaces for deliveries) they can have a significant
impact. Such road space reallocation would also address the problem
that simply reducing the number of vehicles parked in areas such
as central London may reduce the number of trips by car to the
area and release capacity that is taken up by generated through
traffic, thus resulting in no reduction in congestion or pollution
while potentially adversely affecting economic activity.
16. This issue needs also to be taken into account
in the work place parking levy concept, which is a further mechanism
to address car journey trip ends.
The Workplace Parking Levy
17. There is a strong argument for raising a
levy on workplace parking, which in most cases represents an untaxed
benefit in kind. Given the market value of off street parking
in central London this untaxed benefit can be as high as £5,000
a year. This clearly represents a financial incentive to driving
to work and it has been estimated that as many as 70 per cent
of those who drive to work in central London have reserved free
18. The workplace parking levy provides an approach
to this issue. In implementing such a levy, proper consideration
would need to be given to:
the objectives of the levy (whether
to raise revenue or reduce traffic);
the extent of the levy (whether to
include contract parking in public car parks or other non-workplace
the scale of the levy (related to
the scale of the current benefit);
the mechanisms for assessing and
collecting the levy (including enforcement).
19. Overall, the more restricted the scope of
the levy, the easier it will be to avoid payment and therefore
reduce the effect in terms of traffic reduction; the more limited
the scale of the payment the less effect the levy will have in
either discouraging car trips or raising revenue. A suggestion
of £50 per space per year has been made. In central London
this is likely to raise relatively little and have almost no effect
on car trips.
20. The Committee supports trials of the workplace
parking levy and is anxious that legislation to allow this is
put in place as soon as possible. Any such legislation should,
however, recognise that in London, even after the creation of
the Greater London Authority, introduction of a workplace parking
levy will require the active co-operation of the London boroughs
and should be recognised as a joint activity.
21. Congestion charging can play a similar role
to the work place parking levy in discouraging car trips albeit
without some of the disadvantages associated with releasing spare
capacity which can result in further generated traffic. It is,
however, a more complex issue with, potentially, more technical
problems, and there are a wider range of possible workable options
to consider. Again the Committee welcomes the prospect of trials
and is anxious that legislation allowing local authorities to
introduce congestion charging should be introduced as soon as
possible. The Committee supports the work of GoL in considering
options as a form of briefing for the mayor.
22. Central to the success of any form of congestion
charging is enforcement. The experience of the London boroughs
with parking enforcement demonstrates that they are fully capable
of this sort of enforcement and it is clear that a form of decriminalised
enforcement would be most appropriate for this.
23. As with the workplace parking levy, any
such scheme in London should recognise that the active support
of the boroughs is needed, even though it is likely that any workable
scheme will have to cover a wider area than any one borough, for
example central or inner London, and will need the GLA to take
24. It is critical, for both the workplace parking
levy and congestion charging that all the proceeds, over and above
operating costs, are hypothecated for spending on transport issues
in London, either by the GLA or by the boroughs. This is the equivalent
to the hypothecation of parking account surpluses under s.55 of
the 1984 Road Traffic Regulation Act. Such hypothecation provides
a clear demonstration that any such income is not being raised
as a form of "back door taxation". A further protection
of this sort, again equivalent to parking charges and penalties,
would be to require that, in setting the workplace parking levy
or the congestion charges, the relevant authority should take
into account only transport matters, such as the need to reduce
traffic levels, with the amount of revenue raised not relevant.
Transport for People with Mobility Handicaps
25. The Committee fully supports the White Paper's
commitments to improving travel opportunities and access for people
with mobility handicaps. This includes not just those conventionally
labelled as "the disabled" but may also include people
with lesser sight or walking difficulties and can include those,
such as mothers with young children or people with heavy and cumbersome
loads, who have difficulty in using conventional public transports.
26. The Committee is fully involved in supporting
such initiatives at present. It supports the London concessionary
fares scheme for elderly and disabled people which is amongst
the most generous in the country, providing free travel on bus,
tube and train outside the morning peak. It organises the Taxicard
scheme which provides subsidised taxi journeys for those with
27. More recently, the Committee has established
a Commission on Accessible Transport which is considering ways
of using resources available in this field more effectively to
give better services to those with disabilities. The Commission
is considering the benefits and practicalities of co-ordinating
transport provision for people with disabilities on an inter-agency
basis, including transport provided by boroughs (as education
and social service authorities) health authorities as well as
purpose provided services such as dial-a-ride and Taxicard. Options
being considered include the co-ordinated use of vehicles for
multiple purposes, co-ordinated allocation of vehicles and co-ordinated
procurement of transport services.
28. This Commission, which is expected to report
early in the New Year, is likely to lead on to certain pilot schemes
for co-ordinating resources and transport supply. This may include,
for example, co-ordination between Taxicard and dial-a-ride and
elements of single demand centres.
29. The Committee is responsible for the London
night time and weekend lorry ban, which all boroughs are supporting.
This ban provides substantial environmental benefits for Londoners,
particularly those living alongside major roads, and the principle
of the ban is now supported by the major freight organisations.
It is very much in line with the proposals for lorry control set
out in the White Paper.
30. The Committee is looking at improvements
to the ban, such as modernisation of the excluded route network
and conditions associated with permits to enable it to respond
more closely to the legitimate needs of the haulage industry without
reducing its environmental benefits.
31. The White Paper promotes the concept of
quality partnerships in freight whereby local authorities, freight
operators and others, work together to produce more effective
mechanisms for transport and delivering freight while reducing
the impact of freight on local communities. The Committee sees
the night time and weekend lorry ban as, potentially, the centre
of such a freight quality partnership in London.