H&F cuts parking charges to support residents in cost-of-living crisis

Most drivers will see the hourly rate to park in the borough reduced from £5 an hour to £3.50 an hour.

Electric vehicles will be charged a reduced fee of £2.50 per hour as part of new charging bands based on vehicle emissions.

In total, 80 per cent of vehicles will see a decrease in charges with only the highest polluting vehicles paying more.

Since 2014, we’ve kept parking charges well below the rate of inflation. With prices rising a staggering 43 per cent over these eight years, the new rates represent a substantial ‘real-terms’ cut in the price of parking in H&F.

Listened and responded

Cllr Sharon Holder, H&F Cabinet Member for the Public Realm, said the cut in charges would help families faced with inflation at 11 per cent, food inflation at 13 per cent and energy bills typically averaging £3,000 per household.

“We have listened and responded to residents who asked us to support them during the cost-of-living crisis,” she said. “We are introducing new parking charge bands based on vehicle emissions. We are supporting residents through the cost-of-living crisis, as well as tackling the climate emergency.

“This policy supports both our net carbon zero 2030 ambition and our Clean Air Neighbourhoods programme. The new banding will encourage the transition to electric and low emission vehicles. And it will maintain the policy targeted at non-residents who want to use the borough as a cheap car park.”

A report detailing the new charges was agreed by H&F’s Cabinet on Monday 9 January.

Reduced charges

The reduced charges will also support local businesses during the cost-of-living crisis by making it cheaper for residents who need to drive to do their shopping. Extra 20p shopper parking bays have also been introduced. 

The new emission bands will be implemented following a period of consultation. Pay and display tariffs will remain un-changed so residents are encouraged to use the mobile parking app RingGo to take advantage of the lower charges.

Urgent cost-of-living crisis support

The measure is the latest in a targeted effort by the council to support families in H&F facing the gravest fall in living standards on record.

New measures include setting up a household support fund, Warm Welcome spaces for residents struggling to heat their homes, and a cost-of-living crisis team offering support and advice to residents.

This builds on existing support, including free breakfasts for all primary school children, the abolition of home care charges for elderly and Disabled residents, Council Tax support, freezing or cutting charges to residents in real terms and support for the local foodbank and charities.

Emissions banding to tackle climate emergency

Emissions-based charging was first introduced during Covid to stop out-of-borough traffic using H&F as a cheap car park as motorists avoided public transport. That policy only had two bands and many low emission and hybrid vehicles were caught in the higher charge band.

This meant that many residents who had actively bought or leased greener vehicles to support tackling the climate emergency were surprised and disappointed to see their parking charge rise from £3.20 an hour to £5 an hour.

The new policy more clearly rewards drivers with electric and low emission cars and discourages those with the highest polluting vehicles in line with H&F’s climate emergency and public health ambitions.

new UK study published by Frontiers in Public Health found that people living in polluted areas were more likely to have more than one long-term illness. 

Current charges

RingGo pay-by-phone/e-parking payments for low C02 emissions vehicles (under 75g/km CO2 emissions): 

  • £3 per hour 

RingGo pay-by-phone/e-parking payments for high C02 emissions vehicles (over 75g/km CO2 emissions): 

  • £5 per hour 

Surcharge for diesel vehicles: plus £1 per hour

New charges (anticipated to go live by April 2023)

RingGo pay-by-phone/e-parking payments:

  • Band 1 (0-75g/km CO2) - £2.50 per hour
  • Band 2 (76-130g/km CO2) - £3.50 per hour
  • Band 3 (131-190g/km CO2) - £4.25 per hour
  • Band 4 (191+g/km CO2) - £5 per hour 

Surcharge for diesel vehicles: plus £1 per hour

The diesel surcharge will be applied to diesel vehicles in any of the above bands due to the extremely negative impact of diesel vehicles on air quality.

Further review

H&F has also pledged a further review of parking charges which will look at free borough-wide parking for residents with clean vehicles outside of high-volume neighbourhoods, with rush hour and school-run traffic also excluded.

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