13 July 2007
Green party put forward motion at full Council meeting to amend borough's parking policy in response to public concern.
Green Party Councillor for Highgate, Maya de Souza, calls for changes to Camden 's parking policy so that it supports local shops and businesses and forms part of a green transport strategy – while being enforced fairly and in recognition of the needs of vulnerable groups.
It is in the context of pressing environmental problems which could end up costing the public billions in the borough, that amendments to policy are being put forward.
Specifically, the Green Party proposes that:
* Rates for parking permits depending on CO2 emissions of vehicles are introduced
* Local shops and businesses are supported – for example by adequate short term parking being made available, rather than forcing customers to travel to larger stores which provide car parks; while having a damaging effect on local business, this also contributes to transport related emissions
* The EU-wide Blue Badge scheme for disabled drivers is extended to cover the entire borough, to allow such drivers full access to central London
* That parking is made fair – the ongoing review should to ensure that the public are not alienated by overly punitive penalising
‘‘Camden Council can make a significant difference through its parking policy in terms of transport related emissions'', says Maya, ‘‘this would send a clear statement to residents as to the importance of buying environmentally friendly vehicles. However in using our parking policy for the benefit of the environment we must make sure that the most vulnerable do not bear the burden of change -hence we must make appropriate provision for the disabled and we must give high priority to the needs our small local shops and businesses.''
Despite the importance of this issue being largely agreed upon, amendments have been introduced from both Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors; one of which calls merely for a reduction on the cost of parking permits on environmentally friendly cars rather than the scale of charges being proposed by the Green Party which would mean higher than current rates for vehicles with high emissions, as well as lower rates for low emission vehicles. The Lib-Dem and Conservative amendment also asks the government to set up a system of differentiated rates in terms of vehicle excise duties.
Cllr de Souza responds: ‘'I am disappointed to see that they show this reluctance to take steps well within Camden 's powers to tackle Climate Change. Richmond Council is already taking such action and the public in a consultation earlier this year were in favour of a scale of charges. I am concerned that the new Council will seek to pass the buck back to the government and I am worried about this unwillingness to show real leadership on the environment. I hope however that in the end Councillors across the board will think independently and support us".