Council looking to hike parking permit fees for older vehicles

JEREMY CLACKSON, our transport correspondent, on how Croydon’s air-polluting council is now coming after the elderly and poorer car owners

More car-free zones around schools and discounts on resident parking permits for those using low-emission vehicles are among proposals which Croydon Council seems set to introduce, it says as part of its effort to improve the toxic air quality which pervades much of the borough.

But hidden within a statement issued this morning was a detail-lite reference to increasing parking fees for Council Tax-payers who own older cars.

The statement was issued from Fisher’s Folly this morning, which chuntered on about “Croydon’s ambitions to become London’s greenest borough”.

Oblivious to the blatant contradiction between that green “ambition” and the council spending £10million per year to burn residents’ rubbish at the Beddington incinerator, Croydon’s statement unveiled a series of measures which, it claims, “build on existing successes and introduce new initiatives to encourage residents, visitors and businesses in the borough to take more, greener journeys”.

The “new initiatives” (presumably, as opposed to old initiatives) will be put before the next meeting of the council cabinet for approval … which means that they will be duly rubber-stamped and pushed through.

Stuart King: drivers of modern company cars won’t be affected by increased parking charges

“We have led the way with some of our green initiatives including introducing pedestrian areas around schools and we are always looking to build on these successes,” said Stuart King, the Labour council’s cabinet member for polluted air and over-busy roads.

The council release said, “One option being considered proposes offering residents a substantial discount on the cost of parking permits if they drive the least polluting cars.”

Any reduction in parking permit income for one group of residents, though, is likely to be more than matched by increases for others.

Residents’ parking permits are currently an undiscriminating £80 per year for each Croydon household’s first car.

“Proposed residents’ parking fees fall in to five bands based on a vehicle’s CO2 emissions,” the council said. “Those in the greenest band would only cost £6.50 for the annual parking permit.”

Ominously, the council added: “As part of these measures the council will be consulting on increasing the cost of a residents’ parking permit for vehicles with higher CO2 emissions.”

Similar fee hikes announced recently in Sutton have caused much anger and distress among residents, some of whom fear that they will be forced to get rid of their vehicles. The policy has been criticised as being a “blunt instrument”, penalising vehicles based on their engine type and age, rather than actual car usage and emissions.

Older cars tend to be owned by less-well-off residents and pensioners, who also tend to use their cars less frequently. Wealthier residents, those able to afford modern cars with all the latest gizmos and gadgets, or who own properties large enough on which to have their own dedicated parking spaces, are unaffected by such a policy.

As are those who drive modern, low-emissions cars provided for them by their companies. Company car drivers tend to be among those who clock up the greatest mileage.

If approved by the cabinet, the draft parking policy will go out for public consultation in April.

Dropping off youngsters from the family Chelsea Tractor on the school run is already a thing of the past at three Croydon primaries

The council is already “consulting” on banning road traffic from the area around eight schools during morning and afternoon peak periods. Car-free zones were introduced in pilot schemes at three primaries last year in an effort to help improve road safety around the schools and air quality.

A shortlist of schools who have expressed interest has been drawn up, with letters sent to the school communities and nearby residents to gather their views.

The new School Streets would come into effect from September 2019.

The eight shortlisted schools are:

  • Norbury Manor Primary, Norbury
  • Cypress Primary, South Norwood
  • Winterbourne Junior Girls, Bensham Manor
  • Fairchildes Primary, New Addington
  • Harris Academy Purley, Purley Oaks and Riddlesdown
  • Downsview Primary and nursery, Upper Norwood
  • Harris Primary Academy Kenley, Kenley
  • West Thornton Primary Academy, Broad Green

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4 Responses to Council looking to hike parking permit fees for older vehicles

  1. Bernard Winchester says:

    It should also be remembered that scrapping an old car and manufacturing a new one causes a very substantial quantity of emissions, even if the direct pollution in Croydon is lessened.

  2. Just looking after rich people. I simply cannot afford a new car.

  3. Lewis White says:

    It seems very wrong that we were ENCOURAGED by government to buy diesels, for fuel economy reasons. Many people responded by buying diesels. These people are now being punished.

    The air pollution problems we are experiencing now are different from those suffered as a result of the smogs caused by coal burning, or industrial smokestack emissions, or lead in petrol , or cigarette smoke, but the result of the pollution still ends up doing the same— damaging our lungs and hearts. And brains.

    The health of children becomes the health of adults. Breathing polluted air at an early age affects what happens later on.

    I feel that we should let all vehicles just go through their life-cycle, as they will eventually reach the scrap heap. “Scrappage schemes” would help speed up the removal of higher-polluting vehicles.

    I don’t like the idea of punishing the average “older car” owner. Most of us have enough problems and expense in life in any case to deal with.

    It really is up to scientists and motor manufacturers to invent low-polluting cars, and governments to ensure that they are brought in. It’s up to us to minimise our car use, use public transport to get to work if at all possible, to keep pollution down. And turn off our engines immediately when parked.

    I would like to ask the question- all these powerful and bulky 4 by 4’s and the like that huge numbers of people are buying. How much emissions do they cause per mile relative to a small older car ? It is the pollution per mile traveled that really makes the difference.

    And why are we not making it illegal to let your engine running when parked, and fine people who do.?.

    Ironically, huge numbers of mums and dads leave their engine running while waiting for their child to emerge from the school gate. Do they think about the effect on their own and other children and the air quality for local residents? Don’t they care?

    The location of schools and access to fresh open air in the form of playgrounds and playing fields is also another issue.

    In Purley Way Waddon, we now have the new Harris Primary School, right next to the polluted Purley Way ? It is on a constricted site, with minimal outdoor play space. Not exactly fresh air as part of the curriculum. Air con air is not good air either, for the breather or for global warming

    Had it been built on the nearby derelict ex- playing fields of the ex Heath Clark school site, not used for 2 decades, it could have had a big grassy play ground with really fresh air. It wasn’t. What a waste of a site, once in educational use.

    Investment in street tree planting is another way of cleaning our air in towns, so it is encouraging to note that Croydon Council are doing a lot of new planting in Waddon and other areas of Croydon.

  4. David Wickens says:

    Statistics show that older cars and motorcycles progressively travel less miles per annum and thus the total pollution they emit per annum drops towards their eventual demise.

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