Examination of Witnesses (Questions 20
WEDNESDAY 23 OCTOBER 2002
ELPHICK OBE, COUNCILLOR
20. What is the total cost to Nottingham business
going to be of the charge?
(Ms Flack) The Levy charge starts off at £150
per space per year, or about 70 pence per day.
21. The total revenue you expect to raise from
(Ms Flack) The total net revenue is along the lines
of £80 million over ten years.
22. So £8 million per year?
(Ms Flack) It does not work quite like that because
the Levy will be increased over time, but it is £80 million
over the ten years.
23. What assessment have you done of the likely
cost in terms of lost investment and lost jobs, because, by definition,
if we remove £8 million a yearor whatever the figure
may befrom businesses in a town the size of Nottingham,
it cannot but have an impact on jobs and investments simply because
the businesses no longer have the money to spend on other things.
(Ms Flack) I am not sure that I would agree with that.
24. It stands to reason. If you take money away
from a business in taxation, it has less money to spend on employing
someone or investing. That is basic arithmetic. The question is,
how much is that cost?
(Ms Flack) Even if you accept that then Nottingham
is a growing city and has been one of the fastest growing cities
in the country over the past ten years, it is projected for something
like thirty to forty thousand new jobs over the next ten years.
It is really only because Nottingham is successful at the moment
in attracting jobs and inward investment that the city council
feels that it is possible to manage that successif you
likeby generating some money to do transport improvements,
to encourage more people to come in. We do not want to stop that
happening at all; we want to encourage more.
25. That implies that you have not looked in
detail at the actual likely consequences in terms of business
investment. You are simply assuming the city will grow. You have
not really looked in detail at the actual impact on businesses
and what decisions may be taken as a result.
(Ms Flack) We have had a study done by the University
of Oxford which did show that the long term impact of the Workplace
Parking Levy was actually favourable in economic terms. The way
that the study was done was by interviewing movers and shakers
within the city and their opinions were that the economic benefit
would actually be positive.
Chris Grayling: So what proportion of Nottingham
business do you estimateyou will not be able to give exact
figureshave been supportive in the plan compared to opposed?
26. Can you give us a note on that? Did you
want to comment on that, Councillor?
(Councillor Edwards) Just the point that when you
look at the costs it does kind of highlight that somehow firms
are not giving detailed figuresor general figures evenon
the costs of congestion. And I think that is the thing where I
do not entirely agree with the tone of your question because there
is that sense of not giving any allowance for what is congestion
going to cost if you do not do anything. The more jobs that we
are getting in Nottingham, we have had a relatively low level
of car ownership for the city, but we think that as people get
more work and become more prosperous there will be more car ownership.
We need to do something to make sure that those cars do not congest
the city and then actually be an obstacle to further investment
and further economic growth.
27. Is it the businesses that are actually paying
or is it the worker?
(Ms Flack) The employer is charged. It is up to the
employer whether they pay the Levy themselves or whether they
pass it on to the user of the space.
28. What is your experience to date?
(Ms Flack) A survey that we have had done shows that
relatively few employers would pass the charge on, but those are
likely to be the bigger employers. So, about forty per cent of
the parking spaces would be paid for by the user and the other
sixty per cent by the employer.
29. So it is the case then that it is the worker
that is paying in forty per cent of cases?
(Ms Flack) Yes.
30. Could you just say something about the analysis
of the costs of the comparative schemes. In the evidence that
we have been given, we have been told that you have estimated
that the cost of implementing road charging would cost something
in the region of £70 million to administer, whereas the scheme
you are proposing would cost something like £8.6 million.
I wonder if you could just explain how your reinforcement process
will work and why it is so much cheaper to implement a workplace
(Ms Flack) Because the Workplace Parking Levy simply
is an administrative process. It does not require any infra structural
works on roads apart from parking restraint and it does not require
the technology that a road user charging scheme would need. It
is simply a management process so the costs are very low in comparison.
31. So are these figures that we have here set-up
costs or are they the actual on-going annual running costs?
(Ms Flack) If you are looking at the table, it is
both set-up costs and on-going costs.
32. Can I ask you to comment just for the record
on the comparison of the traffic reduction impacts of the two
separate schemes in Nottingham. In evidence that I have heard
elsewhere, supporting congestion charging in London, it has been
suggested that a workplace charging scheme would have less impact
on traffic reduction than the scheme that you are proposing.
(Ms Flack) The Workplace Parking Levy has less impact
on congestion than a road user charging scheme because it affects
less cars. So, by the nature of it, we are only charging commuter
cars, therefore it is bound to have less effect on congestion.
In Nottingham congestion is generally caused by commuter cars
so it is more appropriate for Nottingham.
33. Because you have opted for this workplace
charging model, does that mean that you have ruled out for the
foreseeable future congestion charging?
(Ms Flack) Road user charging. No, we have not ruled
it out. In fact, a feasibility study was done recently on road
user charging in Nottinghamwhich is where this table comes
fromand the city council considered that study and decided
that it would continue to review what happens with road user charging
around the country and particularly whether the Government brings
in a standard for road user charging. But, for the time being,
the city council would not want to be a pilot for road user charging
because of the cost and risk, but is willing to continue with
Workplace Parking Levy possibly for a temporary period and because
it is relatively cheap and easy to bring in and to take out.
34. I would like to ask Durham initially, are
you meeting the needs of disabled?
(Mr Elphick) Yes, we have had detailed discussions
with disabled groups whilst we were preparing the scheme and there
are specific arrangements in place for the disabled. They cannot
take their cars onto the Peninsula without paying the charge generally,
but we have put in a very frequent new bus service which uses
low floor, easy access buses through various parts of the city
which are providing not only a service to the Peninsula but elsewhere
in the town centre for those that know it. On top of that, part
of the charge income will be used to subsidise the shopmobility
scheme which runs right in the centre next to the Saddler Street
road itself and the shopping area. On top of that, if someone
is severely disabled or there are other special circumstances
perhaps, they could make prior arrangements to get access free
of charge. There are arrangements for people to ring up if there
are special requirements for things like funerals at the cathedral
or other services; obviously we would make special arrangements
35. Have you encountered any unanticipated difficulties
in operating this scheme?
(Mr Elphick) No, not so far. Obviously this scheme
has only been running since the first of October so it is relatively
new. I am sure you will have seen the press coverage; there has
been quite a lot of that. The traffic has reduced by 90 per cent.
(Mr Elphick) Nine-0. Again, the numbers we are talking
about are relatively small. The initial flows that we had in that
street, which is a narrow, one-way street with traffic controlled
by traffic signals, was about three thousand a day. But it was
mixing with about seventeen thousand pedestrians, so there was
quite a lot of conflict, environmental problems, road safety problems.
Of those three thousand, two thousand were anticipated to come
in during the charge period which is from ten to four. The average
daily flow coming in now is two hundred.
37. Have you looked at the number of pedestrians?
Have they gone up?
(Mr Elphick) We have not had a chance to do that yet.
Obviously, as part of the monitoring, we did a survey prior to
the scheme going in which is where those previous figures come
from and we will be doing that afterwards. We have done both vehicular
and pedestrian surveys and opinion surveys as well and we will
be repeating those in a little while. I think, like a lot of traffic
schemes, it needs to be left in for two or three months rather
than weeks before you actually assess it.
38. What has this meant for public transport?
(Mr Elphick) There has been a big improvement, in
fact, in many ways. As part of the scheme we had to be sure that
we had made alternative means of access to the Peninsula area.
To do that we purchased two new mini buses which are low floor
and have a customised paint on them which makes them quite noticeable
round the town centre. They are running a ten-minute service into
the Peninsula area from the railway station, bus station, car
parks. Actually, we are finding that people are using them not
just to go up to the cathedral or the Peninsula, but also to go
to other parts of the town centre. It is a cross-town service.
Fifty pence a day and you can get on and off as much as you like.
39. How are you going to monitor the scheme?
(Mr Elphick) Basically, as I said before, the fundamental
thing is the traffic flow which is significantly down. We will
obviously be doing opinion surveys; the press are doing those
for us at the moment and most of it is extremely favourable. We
did an awful lot of consultation beforehand. I would say that
we have been drip-feeding the idea for three or four years now.
Generally there is public support. You will always get people
who are against it, but the vast majority of people, I think,
if you ask them, think it was the right thing to do to put some
sort of control on the Peninsula.
(Councillor Ross) There was a random survey done of
people on the street yesterday for the local televison and I would
say that the vast majorityapart from the odd exceptionaccepted
that it was a move forward. I would just add to what Mr Elphick
has said as well about this, this rides on Durham starting in
around August 1996 and working forward. We have put three controlled
parking zones in streets around the city centre, moving to the
fourth one. Again, it is with intensive consultation and just
meeting with people who want just to drive into Marks and Spencers,
if you like, and the vast majority of people are very supportive.
We have worked continuously with the major organisations, the
University, the Dean and Chapter, the District Council, the Police,
the Chamber of Trade. They have been met on countless occasions
in moving forward. I think the next stage now that the city plan
has been announced as being accepted this last week, then we have
three areas which have been confirmed as park and ride on the
outskirts of the city.