News

Kingston parking charges set to change to improve air quality

Charges for resident permits, on street parking and in council-owned car parks are set to change.

Charges for resident permits, on street parking and in council-owned car parks are set to change in order to help discourage unnecessary car journeys; encourage more people to use environmentally friendly forms of transport; and improve air quality.

Air pollution is the biggest environmental cause of ill-health in the UK. In Kingston, road transport is responsible for 72.5% of gases from burnt fuel - NOX*, and 58% from other harmful chemicals - PM2.5 ** with emissions and air pollution estimated to contribute to the equivalent of one in twenty deaths. The new parking charges, which are primarily based on vehicle carbon dioxide emissions, aim to encourage behaviour change to help tackle pollution in the borough.

Under the new plans, parking for all electric and hybrid vehicles will be free. Charges for residents’ permits for the higher polluting vehicles will increase, in some instances significantly. The changes will affect every household when renewing their current permit or making a new application. There are also plans to introduce new charges for motorcycles following consultation in September 2019.

The council will continue to offer 30 minutes of free parking in a number of roads in the borough, including high streets. The charges to on street parking and car parks will start in summer 2019. Any changes in prices will be available on the council’s website www.kingston.gov.uk/parking by the end of February 2019.

Vehicle tax is based on emissions and many other London boroughs are taking similar approaches to parking and aligning charges to emissions as a way of improving air quality in the capital.

Over the last few years the council has been promoting more sustainable forms of travel, including cycling and walking. In 2014, Kingston was one of three local authorities to receive funding from the Mayor of London and Transport for London to encourage more people to cycle and improve safety while providing better streets and places for everyone. To read more about the £32million project visit www.kingston.gov.uk/go.

We also work with schools to develop travel plans to increase sustainable modes of travel to and from the school. We currently have 11 schools with travel plans and are working with a further 8 schools to tackle poor parking issues around the school area.

Councillor Hilary Gander, portfolio holder for Environment and Sustainable Transport said:

“Polluted air leads to increased illness and risk of early death. These changes are part of our efforts to protect the health of residents by encouraging people to think carefully about their choice of vehicle when the time comes to change it. And if we move to more environmentally friendly vehicles, walking, cycling and public transport, it will help to make Kingston a better place to live in, work in and visit.”

The final decision on parking charges will be made at the meeting of Kingston’s Full Council on 26 February 2019 as part of the approval of the council’s overall budget for 2019/20.

Notes to Editors

Subject to approval at Full Council on 26 February, resident permit charges will be as below.

Emission level (g of CO2/km)

Current charge

Proposed charge

0

£90

£0

1-120

£90

£90

121-150

£90

£120

151-185

£90

£160

186-225

£90

£220

226 and over

£90

£350

Electric and Hybrid vehicles won’t incur a resident permit fee.

Diesel and diesel hybrid vehicles will be subject to a £50 surcharge in addition to the resident permit charge.

Where households have more than one car, there will be further additional charges for permits. These will be £60 for second cars, and £120 for all additional cars.  

Permit and on street parking charges were last increased by the council in 2015, although there were some small increases in some car parks in 2017. Income from on street parking and enforcement is ring-fenced to spend on council highways and roads and cannot be used for other council services.

The categories of eligible expenditure of revenue from street parking and traffic enforcement include the provision and maintenance of off-street parking accommodation, public passenger transport (for example Freedom passes for older people), highway or road improvement projects, environmental improvement and the implementation of the London Transport Strategy.

To help encourage the use of low emission vehicles to get around, the council is introducing a number of measures including extending the number of electric vehicle charging points in the borough from 10 to 100 over the next 4 years. The council is also working with TfL to grow the rapids electric vehicle charging network in London. So far there is one rapid charger in the borough at Ace Parade, Hook Road by the junction with the A3. London Councils Transport & Environment Committee has agreed that boroughs should suggest 20 further potential sites by end of January 2019 for TfL to assess and Kingston are working towards this target.

In 2018, Kingston’s Annual Public Health report focused on the impact poor air quality is having on our health. You can read the interactive digital copy of the report online https://indd.adobe.com/view/a2b74030-58e9-4753-9691-b7f328efcb93 or download a pdf version https://data.kingston.gov.uk/jsna/annual-public-health-reports.

*NOX - Nitrogen Oxides are a family of poisonous, highly reactive gases. These gases form when fuel is burned at high temperatures.

**PM2.5 refers to atmospheric particulate matter (PM) that have a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers, which is about 3% the diameter of a human hair.