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A winning policy: Nottingham's Workplace Parking Levy

Congratulations to Nottingham City Council on winning a prestigious Ashden Award for their Workplace Parking Levy. 

In this guest blog, Nottingham's WPL pioneers Nigel Hallam and Andy Gibbons set out the elements that have made this exciting project such a success. 

The Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) scheme is a congestion charge designed to encourage employers to reduce the number of free workplace parking places they provide to staff and switch to alternative modes of transport.

Nottingham’s WPL was introduced in October 2011 (no charge) and charging commenced in April 2012. The levy works as a demand management tool focusing on commuter parking as commuters account for about 70% of congested peak traffic in Nottingham. Congestion costs Nottingham £160m every year. Over half of this cost falls directly to businesses. Therefore reducing congestion will directly benefit businesses.

The WPL is an annual charge levied on all employers within Nottingham City Council’s administrative boundary who provide 11 or more liable workplace parking places.

The scheme is largely administrative with employers managing their own account online, where more information can be found on the various exceptions and discounts associated with the scheme. 

Since charging began in 2012 over £44 million of revenue has been generated with 100% compliance of liable employers, over 99.9% of revenue has been collected and there have been no legal actions. The WPL team operate at less than 5% of revenue. The prevailing ethos is about compliance rather than enforcement.

A number of grants are made available to employers to encourage reducing workplace parking such as a cycling grant of up to £5,000 which could be spent on providing showers and drying cabinets and not solely on security.

WPL revenue is ring fenced by law and is spent on transport initiatives contained within the Councils Local Transport Plan. It has enabled a step change in transport infrastructure, through levering in funding to more than double the size of the city’s tram network through a £570m extension to our tram system, a £60m redevelopment of the city’s Railway Station and to support our £15m award-winning fully electric Link bus network.

It has also contributed towards the development of Nottingham’s integrated all-operator pay-as-you-go Robin Hood smartcard, its extensive real time information system with over 1500 displays, two refurbished bus stations and technology for priority and late running buses at key signalised junctions. It is also partly financing a new bus station within the ongoing redevelopment of the Broadmarsh area of the City Centre.

Significantly, the WPL revenue is used as local match funding to enable the City Council to bid for external funds from the Department of Transport and elsewhere:

Funded schemes WPL local contribution (£M) External funds (£M)
Tram extension 199 371
Train stations 12 48
Electric buses 5.8 9.2
Bus stations 1.7 1.3
Smartcard system 1.1 1.0
Real time info system 1.2 1.0
TOTAL 220.8 431.5

This investment of over £650m has led to a 4.5% patronage increase in bus/tram usage since 2013/14 from an already high level of 75m pa.

Nottingham has the highest level of bus/tram usage per head outside of London, with customer satisfaction levels continuing to rise across all areas to over 95%.  

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About the authors: Nigel Hallam is Parking & WPL Service Manager at Nottingham City Council. Andy Gibbons is Nottingham's Head of Public Transport

Campaign for Better Transport has championed the Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) for years (Why other cities should copy Nottingham's revolutionary parking levy)and we're pleased to see the idea being explored by local authorities across the country, most recently in the Mayor of London's draft Transport Strategy.

If you think your area could benefit, please get in touch

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