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Archive - Friday, 10 September 2010
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CO2 parking charges scrapped
Plans to scrap a controversial CO2-based parking scheme have finally been given the go ahead.
Richmond Council’s Conservative cabinet tried to officially end the scheme in July, but action to scrap the system was delayed when the decision was called in by members of the opposition.
This week Richmond’s Friends of the Earth group made a final desperate plea to stop the council abolishing the scheme, saying to do so would send a message to residents the council was not concerned about reducing CO2 emissions.
In a letter to councillors the environmental action group wrote: “We are concerned the proposals are signalling very clearly to residents the new administration is not concerned about reducing Richmond’s CO2 emissions and regards efforts to do so as contrary to the interests of residents.
“Tackling climate change is the most crucial challenge faced by humanity.”
Under the current scheme motorists pay different amounts to park in controlled parking zones (CPZs) depending on their car’s carbon emissions.
The new administration plans to change the system to encompass a flat fee for CPZ permits and 30-minutes, free parking for residents at a cost of £241,000 a year, as well as a one-off £90,000 fee to change parking meters.
However, despite objections at a scrutiny meeting at York House on Tuesday the scheme was scrapped after more than half of the members on the environment, sustainability and community committee voted to stick by the decision.
Speaking at the meeting, Councillor Katharine Harborne said the decision to abolish the CO2-based parking scheme marked a need to try something new.
She said: “There is evidence this car parking CO2 emissions charge maybe was a good idea at the time it was introduced – it was a good experiment and got a lot of publicity – but made no change to people’s behaviour.
“So I think it’s time we tried something new.”
Plans to change the way on-street parking was charged had been questioned by Liberal Democrat councillors Martin Elengorn and Geoff Acton, who asked for the decision to be looked at again.
Both councillors argued the decision had not been subject to a proper public consultation and papers stating the intention to scrap the scheme had only been released at the last minute.
Councillor Stephen Knight, leader of the opposition, said: “I think it’s very sad the Conservatives have chosen to abandon a policy, which sets Richmond as a national leader in tackling climate change, and shameful that the effect of this decision will be a cut in revenue.”