Select Committee on Transport Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 13 - 19)




  13. Good afternoon to you all. Thank you very much for coming. For the record I am going to ask you to identify yourselves. Perhaps you would start on my left and your right.
  (Councillor Edwards) Michael Edwards, City Councillor, Nottingham City Council, Member of Transport Salaried Staff.
  (Ms Flack) Sue Flack, Planning and Transport Strategy Manager at Nottingham City Council.
  (Mr Elphick) Roger Elphick, Head of the Highway Management Services, Durham County Council.
  (Councillor Ross) Don Ross, Deputy Leader, Durham County Council.
  (Councillor Holland) I am Helen Holland. I am the Deputy Leader of the Bristol City Council.
  (Mr Rawlinson) I am Richard Rawlinson. I am the Head of Traffic and Transport, Bristol City Council.

  14. Thank you very much. Did any one of you wish to make one or two opening remarks, or may we go straight to questions?
  (Councillor Ross) I would like to invite you to Durham to see how the road charging system is working and would show you what we mean by Durham hospitality if you do come up.

  15. That is very kind. I have no doubt that the Committee would consider that very seriously, but not this afternoon. First, may I ask Nottingham why you have decided to adopt a workplace charging levy rather than road charging? Miss Flack?
  (Ms Flack) Because the Transport Act 2000 offers us the opportunity of looking at both schemes—or either scheme—and the Workplace Parking Levy for Nottingham better meets the Council's objectives and particularly allows certain things to happen. For example, we can start the levy low so that it can be an incremental and management process rather than the high amount of investment and, we think, risk that is involved in a road user charging scheme. Added to that, Nottingham's geography does not particularly suit a road user charging scheme and the Workplace Parking Levy follows very much along the parking policy lines that we have been following for the last few years, particularly in our work with companies on commuter and travel plans.

  16. You have actually done this once before, I seem to recall, in some detail with some of the businesses in your area and encountered some problems with the Inland Revenue.
  (Ms Flack) Yes, that is right.

  17. Is there a danger that workplace charging is going to encourage businesses to locate either outside the city centre or somewhere else in the region?
  (Ms Flack) We have been looking at that issue; that is an important issue. We would not want to introduce a scheme which had anything like that effect. The evidence that we have gained so far which is from a survey but also from evidence from talking to companies, for example there is one very large company which has just recently decided to expand in Nottingham who have said that they considered the Workplace Parking Levy and they decided that does not have an effect that is big enough to detract from the attractions of the city in terms of its overall management, its labour pool and its transport.

Mr Syms

  18. As I understand the situation, am I right in thinking that Boots are major employers in Nottingham and they have a large car parking area with Park and Ride in their particular establishment. Have you had representations from business on this, like Boots, like local employers, and what have they generally been saying about workplace parking?
  (Ms Flack) Boots are very much opposed to the Workplace Parking Levy and have worked with the Chamber of Commerce in the city and county on a campaign against the Workplace Parking Levy. Having said that, there are some other companies in Nottingham which prefer not to join that campaign but prefer to work with the city council on trying to come to a consensus solution. In fact, Boots itself is a very active member of the Greater Nottingham Transport Partnership which does not support the Levy but does support the transport vision that we are trying to fund.

  19. Has there been any evidence that local employers are taking out parking spaces to avoid paying this particular charge and therefore making life rather more difficult for their employees to find places to park?
  (Ms Flack) This is where the work we have done on commuter plans comes in because we have worked now for about ten years with companies and employers in the city on developing commuter plans which are all about how to encourage people to use alternative forms of transport. They have been very successful and we have a number of employers who have actually reduced their car parking space during the operation of the commuter plan and have used that car parking space for expansion or for building or for more sustainable usage that for car parks. When you reduce parking with a commuter plan that can make it work, that is a management solution to that issue.

  Mrs Ellman: I would like to question you all on how you are assisting disable people. Durham, I see that in your criteria for success you say—

  Chairman: Before we come on to Durham, I think there are those who want to ask on this particular bit. Mr Grayling, was it on this?

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Prepared 19 November 2002