Emission-based parking permits to be considered.

Well now this sunny Friday morning, here’s news of a proverbial ‘fox about to enter a chicken coop’.

Councillors are to consider introducing a series of changes to on-street parking across Bath and North East Somerset as part of their government-approved policy for improving air quality and pedestrian safety.

Get ready for the introduction of emissions-based parking permits for all residents’ parking zones and a 10p an hour increase in on-street parking charges each year for the next three years.

Just two of the proposals in a package, which also includes implementing on-street charges on Sundays, designed to improve air quality ensuring a safer environment for pedestrians by reducing the risks to them posed by air pollution, while also meeting the council’s wider transport policy aims including reducing congestion and vehicle intrusion into neighbourhoods.

The proposals are contained in a report to be considered in a joint member decision by Councillors Joanna Wright and Neil Butters, cabinet members for Transport Services. If approved, residents and businesses will be consulted later this year.

Councillor Joanna Wright, joint cabinet member for Transport Services, said: 
“We have a duty to secure pedestrian safety and one of the ways we are doing that is to encourage transformational change to transport across Bath and North East Somerset to improve air quality by encouraging us all to be less reliant on our cars where we can, and instead to choose to walk, cycle or use public transport.

“I therefore, welcome this report and will consider it carefully, taking into account the rationale behind the proposals whilst also having full regard to the potential impacts on residents, businesses, tourism, air quality, carbon emissions and transport before reaching a final decision.”

The council has recently introduced a series of strategies which taken together are designed to ensure our streets become cleaner, greener and quieter. They include prioritising walking and cycling, introducing liveable neighbourhoods and enhancing public transport.

However, the council needs to ensure its on-street parking provision supports its efforts to improve air quality, reduce congestion and vehicle intrusion into neighbourhoods and the proposals are therefore designed to complement this ongoing work.

One of the main changes outlined in the report is the proposed introduction of emissions-based parking permits for all residents’ parking zones. The aim is to meet the public health and traffic policy goals of these proposals by improving air quality, discourage unnecessary vehicle ownership and encourage people to switch to low emission vehicles where owning a vehicle is essential.

The proposal would see a vehicle placed in a charging band according its recorded emissions with the DVLA.

The base price of a residents’ parking permit would remain at £100 a year with a second permit costing £160. Under the proposals four out of ten existing permits would continue to cost this amount. 

Charges for higher polluting vehicles would increase by 5% for each subsequent emissions band. Diesel vehicles would be subject to an additional 25% surcharge in order to reduce NO2 emissions in the shortest possible time.

Where an emissions rating is not available, which includes vehicles registered before 2001, charges will be based on engine capacity on a similar sliding scale.

Councillor Neil Butters, joint cabinet member for Transport Services, said: “I will consider the proposals contained in the report carefully, taking into account both the impact the changes will have on residents and businesses alongside the need to take decisive action to do our best to improve air quality for the benefit of the health and safety of all our residents.”

As well as moving to an emissions-based residents’ parking permit scheme other proposed changes include:

• A 10p an hour increase in on-street parking charges each year for the next three years
• The removal of the 10p service charge for all on street parking stays when using the digital MiPermit, so the charge is the same as cash
• On-street parking tariffs and residents’ permit operating hours to be extended to include Sundays
• An increase in trade permit charges 
• An increase in temporary parking suspension charges 
• A review of medical permits – to include the introduction of digitised permits to counter misuse and an increase to bring the charge in-line with residents’ permits 
• A review of hotel and guesthouse permits – to reallocate the parking to car parks and to include the introduction of digitised permits 
• A review of the remaining small number of historic paper permits – with digital permits issued if renewal is authorised 
• Residents’ parking visitor permit charges to be increased by 50p a day in year one with subsequent rises of 25p a day in years two and three. 
• The introduction of half day paper visitor permits to support vulnerable residents unable to access the financial savings offered by digital permits.
• An increase in Bath Christmas Market coach parking management fees, rising by 25p on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 50p at weekends. 
• The removal of the 10% discount for using MiPermit for residents as it disincentives the use of more sustainable forms of transport and encourages cars into the city centre

Revenue from the proposals will pay for their implementation and running costs with any surplus used to support the development of sustainable transport schemes across Bath and North East Somerset.

Full details of the proposals can be viewed by visiting: 
https://democracy.bathnes.gov.uk/mgIssueHistoryHome.aspx?IId=31781&PlanId=770&RPID=31357153

Residents can check DVLA records to confirm their emissions, or engine capacity, online at https://www.gov.uk/get-vehicle-information-from-dvla

NOTE People were asking what about electric vehicles? Here’s the official answer from B&NES.

‘As the proposals for changes to residents permits are based on VED bands, and as EVs are nil rated, the proposal sets out that if adopted EVs will see a reduction for residents’ permits against current costs by 50% to £50 for a first permit and £80 for a second permit (where available). ‘