Our transport correspondent JEREMY CLACKSON on the latest sham consultation from the council intended to justify a £300 per year charge for resident parking permits
Croydon Council’s propaganda department – the press office, which operates off a budget of around £500,000 per year – went into full-on Goebbels mode before the Bank Holiday weekend, issuing a release which falsely claimed: “Parking scheme could make Croydon London’s greenest borough”.
This comes from a local authority that is to pay £10million per year over 25 years to an incinerator operator to burn domestic rubbish trucked in from across south-east England, including the possibility of radioactive waste. And all the smoke, fumes and particulates will be sent up the chimneys of Viridor incinerator at Beddington Lane, to be carried on the wind, polluting the air, who knows where…
There’s further dissembling within the parking scheme which the council is now consulting on. The premise of the scheme is that by hiking residents’ permit fees by up to 375per cent simply for the privilege of being able to park their cars near their homes, the council will in some way manage to reduce the amount of vehicle emissions.
The council’s premise ignores the fact that parked cars make no emissions. Smarter systems of emissions control, in which the polluter pays, are already widely available.
In the tosh emitted from Croydon Council’s press department last week, they claimed, “Croydon is continuing its journey…”, ahhh, a journey, “… to become a greener borough as a consultation on new emissions-based parking charges, offering major discounts to drivers with less polluting cars.”
There’s a lie even in the first sentence of the council’s release: the parking charges are not based on actual emissions, but on a hypothecation which makes no calculation for the actual use of cars.
Indeed, there’s a good case to argue that the Labour council’s proposed parking charges deliberately discriminate against the poor and older residents, those without the means to buy flash new cars, or have a hybrid vehicle provided by their employers, or have off-road parking in front of their large home.
Local businesses, for whom finding somewhere to park for their staff, deliveries and customers is a constant battle, do not yet appear to have awoken to the possibility that the parking fee hikes might affect them, too. Yes, of course businesses should encourage their clients to use public transport – in a city where TfL is axing and curtailing bus services, including in Croydon.
In March, when the council originally broke cover with its parking charges hike, it was presented by Paul Scott, the Woodside councillor and bestie of Labour council leader Tony Newman. This time, wheeled out by officials to front up the council’s load of misleading piffle was Stuart King, the cabinet member for polluted air and traffic jams.
“We are committed to reducing air pollution and want Croydon to become London’s greenest borough,” was the quote attributed to King, who has been a member of a council for five years, in which time air pollution in Croydon has regularly broken legal limits and got steadily worse.
In case you didn’t quite get the message the first time, the council press office stuck in this bit of redundant quotage in on behalf of Councillor King, too: “We are working hard to make Croydon London’s greenest borough, and reducing air pollution is at the heart of that challenge.”
This, remember, is supposedly coming from a senior member of a council which since 2014 has vigorously pursued a policy of encouraging international developers to build a supermall in the town centre which deliberately attracts more people to drive their cars into Croydon, and would provide a 3,500-space car park to make it all the more convenient.
“Applying a polluter pays model is one of a number of ways we are trying to encourage people to make more environmentally friendly journey choices,” King said, conveniently misleading because the money-spinning parking scheme which the council officials want to impose on residents is not a “polluter pays model”, but a parker pays model.
To support its false premise for charging residents more for the simple amenity of on-road parking, the council even has the brass neck to admit that 75 per cent of the borough’s residents are “concerned” about Croydon’s wretched air quality, even though the Town Hall routinely assumes policies and practices which make the air quality worse, or simply tries to ignore it.
Such as the occasion when an environmental report was submitted to the planning committee, unchallenged, which claimed that there was no issue with air pollution along the four-lane Purley Way, and therefore it would be alright to build a large primary school alongside the busy A23.
The dissembling in last week’s council official press release continued: “The new parking scheme would see different parking charges for vehicles depending on how much CO2 they produce per kilometre.” Except, unstated, is the fact that the council has no intention of measuring how much mileage residents do in their cars. It’s simply going to lump on a £300 parking permit fee to all vehicles that were made before 2001.
The council officials behind this devious and deceitful scheme, which could at least double the Town Hall’s revenue from parking permits to £2million per year, want to steamroller it into place later this year.
The council says, “Business and all other permits would be introduced in 2020 and on- and off-street parking restrictions could be introduced the following year.”
A sham consultation – they ask for the public’s opinion, and then go ahead and do what they intended to do in the first place – has been quietly launched and runs until June 20.
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