Thousands of drivers face forking out £400 a year to park at work

THOUSANDS of people could be looking at a £400 charge to park their car at the office.

Bristol Council is voting on a workplace parking levy this week in a bid to tackle air pollution and congestion across the city.

Employers with more than 11 parking spaces will be charged for each additional bay, under the new proposals.

However, there are concerns that this additional parking levy will not impact businesses, as the cost will most likely be transferred onto employees.

Bristol could be the second UK city to approve the scheme after Nottingham, where charges of £428 are applied to businesses, schools and council properties, but not the NHS.

Boots headquarters, situated in Nottingham, has reportedly pushed these additional costs onto their employees parking at the office.

David Wilcox, the Green Party councillor proposing the plan, has said to The Times: “Bristol has huge problems with congestion and air quality in the centre and we want to alleviate some of that.

“It will reduce the number of journeys and we can use the money we raise from the parking levy to spend on public transport.

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“If we can reduce the number of cars on the road, that will make the buses run quicker and better.”

Experts suggest that swapping a car for a bus commute reduces your CO2 footprint by half, and could be cut even further with more cities upgrading to electric buses.

A reduction in congestion in city centres will also mean less pollution and better air quality, and would allow for more public transport options and fewer delays.

David said that Bristol had been toying with the idea for more than a decade: “Now is the time to actually do it, to try and meet some of our climate targets and fill in some of the money we are missing from central government.”

A £500million investment was given to The West of England Combined Authority, which includes Bristol Council, to improve their public transport.

However, Kevin Clarke, the leader of Nottingham Independents, has said the policy has created more parking problems outside of the city.

“The parking issues are horrendous," he said.

"People are making their way as close as they can to their workplace and then park wherever.

"So all the suburbs are getting blocked up, in and around schools, teachers and staff are avoiding the charge by not parking in the school.

"So there are many faults as well as benefits to the system.”

He said “You can’t expect small businesses to sustain these sorts of charges. It’s just not viable or within the budgets."

"You’ve got to find [the money] from somewhere and it’s obvious they are going to pass it on.”

There are estimated to be 8,600 parking spaces in central Bristol and 57,000 across the city.

Similar plans are also being considered in Oxford, Leicester, Glasgow, and Edinburgh, while London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has also published guidance to London boroughs.

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