Irish Times

€4,500 levy on city parking spots urged in climate report

COMMUTERS WHO drive their cars to work could have to pay up to €4,500 in an annual levy for their currently free off-street parking spaces if the Government accepts one of the recommendations in a new report on climate change.

The Climate Change Challenge: Strategic issues, options and implications for Ireland, due to be published next Monday, calls for the “removal of private cars from city centres” – first through restrictions on parking and later London-style congestion charging.

Drawn up by a representative group of stakeholders convened by the Institute for International and European Affairs, the report suggests congestion charging might be introduced even in advance of major public transport improvements.

“Experience elsewhere (eg London) shows that such schemes can themselves bring about the desired benefits if the revenues collected are used to fund transportation alternatives.

“A charge on free workplace parking could be implemented in the form of a workplace parking levy or ‘benefit-in-kind’ taxation”, the report’s authors say.

“The cost of the levy would vary locally, depending on the local market price for parking. For example, such charges may be in the range of €1,000-€4,500 in city council areas, €600-€3,600 in other Dublin local authorities and €300-€900 in hinterland growth towns.”

The report also proposes that incentives could be provided to “decommission” parking spaces at a certain annual rate, citing Copenhagen where off-street parking spaces are being decommissioned at the rate of 2-3 per cent each year.

It also recommends that motor taxes should switch so that they would be based in future “not only on the environmental performance of the vehicle, but also on the number of kilometres driven” by its owner.

The report says the Government should also consider introducing a carbon trading scheme for individuals,

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Agenda 21 – The UN Blueprint for the 21st Century *