There has been a backlash against the proposal to introduce mandatory workplace parking charges since it was included in the Scottish Budget
Green campaigners have urged support for the controversial Workplace Parking Levy.
There has been a backlash against the proposal to introduce mandatory workplace parking charges since it was included in the Scottish Budget, with some – including trade unions – claiming the move will penalise already hard pressed workers.
The levy will be made on employers – but there are fears it will be passed on to employees.
It was one part of a deal done between the Scottish Greens and the SNP to get the latter’s budget passed.
In the teeth of opposition – including a campaign by a right wing tabloid – environmental charities have written to all five Holyrood political party leaders expressing support for the levy.
The letter, signed by groups such as Friends of the Earth Scotland, WWF Scotland, Sustrans, and Living Streets calls on MSPs to ensure the power is granted to local authorities so that they can decide if it is appropriate for their area.
It sets out the key reasons that the environmental and transport groups back the plans. It also corrects what it says are misunderstandings and myths about the levy.
Friends of the Earth Scotland director Dr Richard Dixon said: “Workplace parking levies have a track record of delivering significant changes to travel habits, bringing much needed investment to transport infrastructure, and creating healthier places to live and work.
“It is an optional power being offered to councils. It won’t be right for every area, but to combat congestion and air pollution in our city centres, it is an important tool for councils to have available to them.”
Stuart Hay, director of Living Streets Scotland, said: “Scotland needs to get smarter in how it funds vital infrastructure improvements for buses, cycling and walking. The Workplace Parking levy is a fair way of supporting action to cut chronic congestion and unacceptable levels of air pollution in our cities.
“A modest charge can give workers with cars alternative commuting options and make companies think more seriously about transport requirements and office location.”
Ellie Harrison from Get Glasgow Moving added: “Most people in Glasgow don’t have access to a car, yet cars dominate our roads and public space while our public transport is underfunded and overpriced. The balance needs to change. This levy can be used to make large employers pay into improving our bus services, our cycle infrastructure and our trains.
“Investing in public transport is essential for expanding Glasgow’s economy, addressing inequality and social isolation, reducing toxic levels of air pollution and tackling climate change.”