Gas-guzzlers face parking permit rise

SHAUN LOWTHORPE Owners of gas-guzzling cars could soon be paying more for resident parking permits in Norwich - and motorists are also set to face higher on-street parking charges in the city.

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

Owners of gas-guzzling cars could soon be paying more for resident parking permits in Norwich - and motorists are also set to face higher on-street parking charges in the city.

Transport bosses want owners of larger cars to pay more to park outside their homes to try to encourage

people to switch to smaller, more environmentally-friendly cars.

Under the plans, owners of cars measuring less than 3.92m such as a Vauxhall Corsa will continue to pay £16 a year for parking permits. Medium-size cars between 3.92m and 4.45m will be charged £22 a year and owners of cars longer than 4.45m will have to pay £30 a year.

Members of Norwich Highways Agency committee are expected to approve the new prices, which will come into effect later this year, at a meeting on Thursday.

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Meanwhile, the committee is looking at a hike in on-street car parking charges which will boost coffers for transport improvements by £170,000.

Within the “core” city centre, charges are set to rise by 40p to £1.60 an hour or 40p per 15 minutes. Further out the charges will go up 20p to 80p an hour or 20p per 15 minutes.

But it is to hold fire on introducing evening and Sunday parking charges while views are canvassed.

The committee, made up of city and county councillors, conducted a public consultation which found 35pc supported the gas-guzzling proposal, 52pc opposed it and 13pc were undecided.

Opponents argued some people needed bigger cars, the increase was just another stealth tax and the principle was flawed.

But others said the charges should be greater and 4x4s and vans should be charged on emissions not length of vehicles.

Brian Morrey, vice-chairman of the committee, said: “Charges for permits have not been increased since they were introduced in 1993. Obviously, if we encourage smaller cars more people will be allowed to park on the

streets. And, in general, smaller vehicles are more environmentally friendly in that they tend to produce fewer carbon dioxide emissions.”

A report to the committee estimates the cost of introducing the scheme at £36,000, but this would be offset by a potential rise in income of £100,000.

A sample study of more than 300 cars in Clarence Road, Marlborough Road, Orchard Street, Portland Street and Trafford Road showed the average car length was 4.12m.

Council officers will be able to establish the length of cars by getting details from The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders which has agreed in principle to provide the information for vehicles with a parking permit for a nominal charge.

Owners of cars which run on alternative fuel will be entitled to free permits.

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