We set our parking prices to encourage more walking, cycling and public transport use without making it unaffordable for those who need to drive. It also needs to cover the cost of the scheme.
Encouraging more sustainable transport
Parking prices significantly influence parking demand, parking space turnover and, ultimately, car use and ownership.
We aim to use parking prices as a tool to regulate supply and demand. This is important as the demand for parking in inner London is greater than the amount of space available. By discouraging unnecessary car use, parking prices help to:
- improve congestion
- improve road safety
- improve local air quality
- reduce carbon dioxide emissions
- improve the quality of the local street environment
- shorten bus journey times and emergency vehicle response times
This is in line with Department for Transport's (DfT's) guidance to local authorities on parking, Hackney's traffic management duties under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, public health responsibilities under the Health & Social Care Act 2012 and the need to meet EU air quality standards.
How we set prices
The DfT's guidance explains that setting prices too high would encourage drivers to risk a penalty charge notice by parking in contravention and setting them too low would attract traffic and encourage unnecessary car use. This is why we try to set prices that reflect the value of kerbside space and consider the context of the charges for off-street parking and those set by surrounding boroughs.
The price of an average Hackney resident's permit is far less than the local price of off-street parking or the commercial value of the equivalent road space. This is because we want to prioritise residents and because such a charge would be greater than the amount necessary to get motorists to reconsider their car use.
We aim to set prices at a level that encourages motorists to reconsider whether they can travel by more sustainable means of transportation such as walking, cycling and public transport, but also not be unaffordable for those that do use a vehicle.
A resident's permit costs approximately £100 per year or £2 per week, a small proportion of the cost of running a car in London. The AA calculates this as being over £2,000 per year before fuel and the RAC calculates fuel as costing £1,500.
Covering the costs of the scheme
A permit system is required in a parking zone so that we can identify local users. Enforcement would not be possible without issuing penalty charge notices to motorists parked in contravention. The DfT's guidance strongly recommends that the costs of parking controls are met using income from the scheme. The costs of managing the scheme includes:
- maintaining signs, lines and posts
- implementing traffic management orders (local bylaws setting out the rules for parking)
- parking enforcement
- issuing permits
- considering appeals against fines
- back office support
We believe that it is fairer if the costs of running a parking zone are met by the motorists benefiting from the scheme than if they are subsidised using council tax or another general fund.
Where is revenue from parking spent?
Councils cannot use parking as a revenue-generating tool. The statutory guidance states that councils should not set targets based on revenue, the number of PCNs issued or the number of vehicles clamped or removed. The use of any surplus that results from parking is strictly governed by legislation and is tightly controlled. This money can only be used for activities specified in Section 55 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (as amended). These activities include:
- public realm improvements
- road safety initiatives
- freedom passes for disabled people and people over 60
Will we consider charging according to carbon dioxide emissions rather than engine size?
Yes. We realise there have been recent advances in the efficiency of petrol engines, and have committed to reviewing our policy with a view to implementing charging based on both CO2 emissions and air quality, if a simple and practical way of doing this can be found. This is a recommendation of our parking and enforcement plan and we want to review the policy by 2015.