The City of Edinburgh Council is set to be the first local authority in Scotland to introduce a graduated charging structure for residents' parking permits in a bid to reduce the environmental impact of vehicle emissions. The decision, the Council said in a release, was "in response to overwhelming public support" and was necessary in order to satisfy European local air quality laws.
The scheme, which would see the introduction of a banding system for residents' permits with fees based on the CO2 emissions or engine size of their vehicle, is expected to be rubber stamped at the Council's Transport, Infrastructure and Environment Committee on 10th February.
Green vehicle owners pay less
The new charging structure should mean that approximately two thirds of current permit holders will pay less for their permit, while a further 14% will be no worse off. Only permit holders with the most polluting vehicles or those with a second permit will pay more than they do at present. The Council expects to see a small reduction in revenues as a result of the measure.
Following an initial report submitted last July, the Committee ordered further public consultation, plus consideration of the effects of the UK Government's increase in road fund licence and the exact criteria on which charges should be based.
Almost three-quarters (73.2%) of 1,670 respondents were in favour of the scheme.
This level of support compares well to the UK's first green parking scheme, introduced in Richmond in 2006, where only 49% supported the scheme (against 39% who opposed).
Air quality control
Transport Convener, Councillor Phil Wheeler, said that the move to a graduated charging structure was essential to meet European local air quality standards by 2010.
"While it is only right that people should be free to choose the vehicle that best meets their needs, it is also reasonable that they should pay the appropriate costs of owning their vehicle, which, in turn, should reflect the amount of pollution it creates," said Councillor Wheeler.
"This initiative will actually result in the Council losing a small amount of parking revenue but should help us towards achieving our ultimate goal of improved air quality and a better environment for all."
On gaining approval, the Council will commence the statutory ‘Traffic Regulation Order' process in order to promote the change. This will take approximately nine months, following which the scheme will be implemented.