Thursday 30 May 2019

Precursor for a Work Place Parking Levy in Reading?

Exhaust fumes to justify tax on work place parking?
Reading Borough Council's Labour administration this week has launched a survey of private car parking in Reading under the limited pretext the "results will help inform Reading Borough Council's new Local Transport Plan".

This however does not fully allude to all the contents of the minutes of the July 2018 Policy Committee, nor the resolutions voted through by Labour.

On pages 6-8 of the minutes it says "The report stated that the car parking and air quality strategy would consider the introduction of local transport charging schemes, under powers given to highway authorities in the Transport Act 2000. Charging schemes could take the form of a road user charge and/or a workplace parking levy (WPL), and could be complemented by Clean Air or Low Emission Zones targeting higher polluting vehicles."

Amongst other things the Policy Committee resolved "that officers undertake a borough-wide parking survey and consultation to inform investigations into the potential measures set out in the report."

On the surface it might seem a positive initiative to encourage people out of their cars onto public transport. However for residents in my ward, the bus service is a far cry from the enviably regular Number 17 service that goes across the centre of Reading east/west every 7 minutes. For Caversham Heights' residents the bus timetable simply does not offer a realistic alternative to the car. I myself tried for 6 months.

If the administration is serious about improving Reading's air quality, first it needs to drastically improve the frequency of buses to Wards such as the one I represent. Bringing in a work place parking levy without this would once again * be targeting taxes on my residents.

* The 20% hike in April 2019 of the green waste collection annual charge has hit a large proportion of my ward residents as the uptake for the service is very high in Mapledurham Ward.