Oxfordshire CC has announced plans for a Workplace Parking Levy, after recommendations from the national lobby group for councils that it should consider a congestion charge.
A report in the county’s finances by the Local Government Association (LGA) states members should look into either a ‘general or a work based’ congestion charging scheme to help raise funds and protect air quality.
‘While (again) not a short term option or one without contention this could be an area where consideration by the County Council may be worthwhile for both environmental and financial reasons,’ the report states.
In response, the council said the set-up costs would be prohibitively high for a general scheme however a workplace parking levy – where employers are charged for the parking spaces they hold - might be more appropriate ‘within Oxford’.
'In order to gain much needed control over the use of the private car as a means of travelling to work within Oxford it is proposed, subject to further work and consultation, that a city-wide Workplace parking levy is introduced,' it said.
‘A road user charge is unlikely to raise significant revenue and is best seen as a network and traffic management tool, rather than a means of generating funding for transport improvements,’ the report said.
It added that a parking levy ‘would have three significant benefits for the city, which will be critical to ensure growth is not limited by the constraints of traffic related congestion’.
These benefits are:
- a shift to sustainable modes – staff who have parking charges passed down by their employer will be incentivised to seek alternative methods of getting to work;
- funds generated through the application of a levy would be ring-fenced solely for the reinvestment into the transport network
- by charging for spaces it would encourage employers to reduce their supply of private parking; saving the employer money spent on maintenance but also presenting the opportunity to redevelop land previously used for parking for employment or housing.