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|March 7th, 2007, 11:47 AM||#1|
Join Date: Sep 2002
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British Cities Mull Green Parking Schemes - Lower Charges for Cleaner Cars
Green parking schemes catch on across Britain by Elodie Mazein
Tue Feb 27, 2:35 PM ET
A decision by a London borough to introduce different rates for parking permits based on vehicle fuel emissions has led a string of other areas around Britain to follow suit, AFP has learnt.
A third of the British capital's 32 boroughs are now looking into similar schemes following a controversial decision by Richmond Council in south-west London last month that attracted both outrage and applause.
Before the end of May, the local authority in Camden, north-west London will adopt the new parking measures, while Lambeth, in the south, is set to vote on the measures this week.
Camden is also encouraging owners of electric vehicles to charge their batteries with power generated from renewable energy sources by setting up free charging points around the borough.
Some six out of 10 residents could pay less than the current 90 pounds (133 euros, 177 dollars) per year for their parking permits, the council said. The most polluting vehicles face an increase of 61 percent.
Affluent Richmond started the trend in January by adopting a seven-tiered payment structure for parking permits which will be brought in before May.
The scheme will offer free parking for electric cars but would see a 200 percent increase on current rates for the most polluting vehicles such as gas-guzzling four-wheel drives.
Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London, has welcomed the initiative and called on other areas to take the same decision.
His call seems to have been heeded -- as well as Camden and Lambeth, the London boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea, Tower Hamlets, Barking and Dagenham, Haringey, Southwark, Brent and Hackney are set to vary parking permit prices on the basis of emissions.
The trend has also caught on outside London -- the seaside towns of Brighton and Hove in south-east England last week agreed a 50 percent increase in the price of permits for the most polluting vehicles within a few months, taking it to 120 pounds.
This should affect around 18 percent of permit holders and the proceeds will be used to fund environmental projects, including green modes of transport, the council has said.
The city of Manchester, north-west England, has developed a green badge parking scheme, which allows drivers of eco-friendly vehicles to park in town at a significantly reduced rate.
Authorities there are hoping to carry out trials later this year.
York, in north-east England, is also offering motorists an eco-friendly carrot in the shape of a 50 percent reduction in the cost of residential parking permits for small and less polluting cars.
In London, Livingstone is looking to bring in a daily 25-pound charge on vehicles with high carbon dioxide emissions if they want to drive into the centre of the capital.
The controversial congestion charge road pricing scheme was set up four years ago to tackle traffic logjams and mounting pollution and was extended to west London earlier this month.
A substantial daily fee for lorries and coaches is also being mooted.
In 2005, vehicles in Britain emitted an average of 168.1 grammes of carbon dioxide per kilometre, compared to a European average of 159.8 grammes.