Workers in some of the UK’s most gridlocked city’s could be forced to pay a charge of up to Â£1,000 just to park their car, as part of new plans to cut back on pollution.
The plans, reported by The Times, would see charged imposed on businesses with more than ten car parking spaces, and could raise millions of pounds a year.
Nottingham, the only council in the country to have already have a tax in place, has raised Â£53.7 million since the tax was first put in place in 2012, with the money largely being spent on improving the tram system.
“By investing in expanding our tram network electric bus network, and railway station improvements, we have been successful in constraining traffic growth, improving air quality and having one of the highest levels of bus and transport usage outside London,” the council explained.
While NHS buildings are exempt from the scheme, hundreds of teachers are forced to pay to park at work, and more generally four in ten companies pass the costs on to their staff.
‘A poll tax on wheels’
Which councils are considering a levy?
However, the plans, which could be in place in some cities as early as next year, have come under fire, with the AA slamming them as a “poll tax on wheels”.
Critics have also claimed there was little evidence the plans actually cut car journeys, warning it could lead to job losses.
“This is complete madness,” Robert Halfon MP told The Times.
“It’s yet another tax on motorists and all it will do is hit working people with the cost of living. It’s entirely the wrong thing to do.”
The West London borough of Hounslow closed a consultation on the issue this week, where it set out plans to charge between Â£500-Â£1,000 per space a yearÂ – something it said would raise up to Â£3.8 million.
The council said funds would go towards two new train services, as well as improved bus routes, walking and cycling facilities, which may not otherwise be viable.
Edinburgh and Glasgow councils have already set out intentions to introduce a charge, while other cities considering the move include Reading, Cambridge, Oxford, Merton, Bristol, Brent, and Camden.
By law, any scheme introduced must be signed off by transport secretary Chris Grayling.
A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said that measures to tackle congestion are a “matter for local councils”, which must be consulted upon first.