Higher parking charges for polluters

It’s going to be a busy old B&NES cabinet meeting next Tuesday – July 20th – when, amongst other important matters, the results of a public consultation on changes to on-street parking permits across Bath and North East Somerset will be considered.

The Council is proposing to base residents’ parking permit charges on vehicle emissions in its first price review of the permits since 2013.

The scheme aims to improve air quality, ensuring a safer environment for pedestrians by reducing air pollution risks and meet the council’s wider transport policy aims.

The proposal to charge based on vehicle emissions is designed to encourage people to switch to low emission vehicles.

It also proposes increases to the cost of on street parking; changes to hotel, guest house and holiday let permits to accommodate long stay visitors in the city centre in off-street car parks, and revisions to medical permits and trade permits.

However, following consideration of feedback from residents, the report recommends the plans are revised before they are progressed.

It recommends that the emissions-based residents permits are made more affordable and flexible by introducing a monthly and 3-month permit alongside 6-month and 12-month permits.  

An inner and outer zone for the new hotel permits to allow guests staying outside the city centre to continue to park on-street is also recommended. The new hotel permits would only be available to existing permit holders and not to new premises.

The new hotel permits will reduce the administration burden for qualifying establishments, as the new digital permit never needs to be renewed and there is no physical permit to be lost or not returned by a guest.

The report also proposes that guests staying in the new inner area who have blue badges would continue to be able to use on-street parking with a hotel permit and the display of their blue badge.

More than 1,000 responses, with over 3,000 comments, were received in the consultation which ran from April 27 to May 24 this year. 

The feedback showed broad support for council action to improve air quality, but some objections to achieving this through emissions-based permits due to increased costs and possible impacts on low income households. There was also broad support for the hotel and medical permit changes.

Councillor Manda Rigby, cabinet member for Transport, said: “The changes to on-street parking charges fit into the jigsaw of our other transport schemes to achieve better air quality for B&NES, make charging fairer and nudge residents to consider air quality when they purchase a car. They affect everyone who lives, works or travels in the permit areas. We haven’t increased residents’ parking charges for eight years but through these charges we hope to lay the foundations for a shift away from higher-emission vehicles that contribute to poor air quality.

“We are also proposing a rebalance of the scarce parking space towards priority to residents, whilst visitors will be able to use council car parks as is the case in many tourist cities.

“The plans that have been revised after listening to residents aim to offer more flexibility for people who will be most affected by the charges, by offering different time period options. We want to manage residents’ parking fairly and sustainably for the future and so we will consider the consultation responses in detail when reviewing this report. Thank you to everyone who gave us their views.”

The on-street parking permits proposals also include:

  • 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
  • A review of hotel, guest house and holiday let permits to include the introduction of digitised permits
  • 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 existing residents’ permits
  • An increase in trade permit charges
  • The introduction of half day paper visitor permits to support vulnerable residents unable to access the financial savings offered by digital permits.

The report asks cabinet to consider the consultation feedback and agree the progression of the revised proposals to statutory consultation. The full report can be viewed here

Read more information about the parking permits consultation and its background.

The cabinet meeting is on July 20 at 6.30pm. Watch live or watch later on the council’s YouTube channel

For your further information.

  • Vehicles would be placed in a charging band according to their recorded CO2 emissions with the DVLA. Residents can check DVLA records to confirm their emissions, or engine capacity, online at https://www.gov.uk/get-vehicle-information-from-dvla
  • Under the proposal the base price of a residents’ parking permit would remain at £100 a year with a second permit costing £160 where the most polluting vehicle on the permit emits less than 131g/km of CO2.
  • Charges for higher polluting vehicles would increase by five per cent for each subsequent emissions band. Diesel vehicles would be subject to an additional 25 per cent surcharge in order to reduce NO2 emissions in the shortest possible time.
  • Where an emissions rating is not available, including vehicles registered before 2001, charges would be based on engine capacity on a similar sliding scale.
  • Revenue from the proposals would 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.