Memorandum by the Boots Company (TYP 11)
(WPL AND RUC)
Boots along with other major businesses in Nottingham
(including Imperial Tobacco, Carlton TV, University of Nottingham,
Nottingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry and East Midlands
CBI) have serious concerns about the workplace parking levy as
a means of reducing traffic congestion and about the way the City
Council is planning to introduce it. So much so that business
has formed a "STOP Workplace Parking Tax" campaign which
has so far resulted in employees demonstrating against the tax
outside the Council offices and letter writing to councillors.
(A copy of the launch leaflet is enclosed for information).
Our main concerns are:
1. The Levy, aimed at employers and not
the road user, will do little to reduce traffic congestion. There
is no incentive not to use the car, it is purely a money raisera
fact admitted by the leader of the City Council. A previous Minister,
Lord Whitty, said at a public meeting in Nottingham in February
2001 that WPL is a crude measure and an interim to Road User Charging.
Additionally, officials in the DTLR have indicated
that there is no evidence from anywhere in the world that traffic
congestion is reduced by this measure and indeed it there is a
marginal reduction, other drivers not currently commuting by car
will see some "slack" in the system and promptly put
their car on the road.
2. The City Council in Nottingham is introducing
WPL without proper and full consultation. WPL has been written
in to their Local Transport Plan as a fâit a compli.
Only as a result of pressure from business in December 2001 has
the leader of the City Council announced research (at minimal
cost and short timescale) to be undertaken into the alternative
road user charging.
It is also important to note that the official
DTLR guidance for local authorities for the implementation of
WPL or RUC has not yet been published or issued.
3. Businesses do not form a campaign group
lightly. They usually work in partnership with the City Council
to help solve problems/issues. This clearly shows the strength
of feeling in Nottingham.
In summary, WPL as a means of reducing traffic
congestion appears to be flawed. In Nottingham, it has pitted
business against local authority when what we should be doing
is working together to solve traffic congestion problems to the
benefit of all
Alternatively, Road User Charging directly impacts
on the car user and can be targeted at peak commuting times to
avoid penalising shoppers and retailers. Introducing imaginative
schemes to offset shoppers car parking charges by the same amount
as the road toll could also ensure that the vitality and viability
of city centres is not damaged.
Finally, implementing a policy in isolation
without consideration of a regional strategy for traffic reduction
may have the reverse effect ie a measure introduced in Nottingham
may encourage motorists to drive further or businesses to relocate
to Derby or Leicester. Currently it does not appear that regional
activity is being co-ordinated in terms of introduction of measures
to reduce congestion or timescale to achieve it.