Should drivers of low emission cars get free parking?

Liberal Democrat group leader James Wright displaying a European emissions sticker on a car. Picture

Liberal Democrat group leader James Wright displaying a European emissions sticker on a car. Picture: Courtesy of James Wright - Credit: James Wright

Drivers of low-emission vehicles in Norwich could be rewarded for their choice with cheaper parking, if a call for this to be introduced is met.

As Norwich City Council continues to look at ways to reduce the city's carbon footprint, its Liberal Democrat group has put forward proposals to better incentivise eco-friendly cars.

The proposal is calling for free parking permits to be offered to drivers of low-emission vehicles, along with discounts in city council-run car parking.

However, it also calls for a German-inspired scheme where motorists are required to display a colour-coded badge showing the emission levels of their vehicles - which would also apply to buses and taxis.

James Wright, leader of the Lib Dem group at City Hall, said it was hoped these would become a "badge of honour" and make people think about the type of vehicles they ran.

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He said: "We would not be in any way asking people to rush out and buy new and expensive cars - but part of the process is about getting people to think about what type of vehicle they have.

"Vehicles would not need to be hybrids to achieve this and even some older vehicles could, but it's just about making people more aware of what vehicles have what impact.

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"This would be a small step to say that there is an issue and there needs to be a change - and if it works well perhaps we can start taking bigger steps elsewhere."

Mr Wright said operating this type of system would be more financially viable than bringing in an emissions zone similar to London's, as the system could be enforced by existing traffic wardens.

The proposals will go before the city council in the form of a motion next week, which also acknowledges some of the effort that has already gone into reducing emissions, such as penalties for idling and removing diesel lorries from the Lord Mayor's Celebrations.

At the time of going to press, the Labour group at City Hall had yet to discuss its stance on the proposals, which will be discussed by full council on Tuesday, September 24.

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