Plans to charge drivers £500 per parking space in workplace scheme scrapped

A row of parked cars

The Mayor of Bristol highlighted the impact of the cost of living crisis

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 09/08/2023

- 16:30

Updated: 09/08/2023

- 16:34

The proposals could have charged every driver around £500 to park their cars at work

Plans have been dropped to introduce a workplace parking levy (WPL) in Bristol because of impacts from the cost of living crisis.

The Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees announced that the council would abandon plans despite a feasibility study being conducted.

A workplace parking levy is a charge on employers for the number of parking places they provide.

They are in place in some cities around the UK, with Nottingham City Council being one of the first areas to launch the charges.

An almost empty car park

The scheme was first proposed in 2012


As part of the scheme, employers which provide more than 11 parking spaces for its employees must pay an annual charge per space.

Currently, workplaces in Nottingham that exceed the threshold are charged £522 per space.

Small employers with 10 or fewer workplace parking spaces are entitled to a 100 per cent discount from the WPL and will not have to pay a charge.

Bristol looked into the possibility of introducing a WPL for the benefit of raising money to develop a mass transit scheme.

One of the most controversial aspects of the scheme is that employers can pass the cost onto their employees.

Data has shown that eight in 10 companies in Nottingham pass the cost of the WPL directly onto their employees.

The Federation of Small Businesses criticised the decision for Bristol to consider a levy when it was first proposed in 2012.

Commenting on the decision to not move forward with a levy in Bristol, Mayor Marvin Rees said now was not the time to increase costs for hard-pressed workers.

He added: “Bristol has, in recent years, like the rest of the world, seen major changes in working patterns during and following the pandemic.

“These patterns will also have been impacted by the introduction of the Clean Air Zone, for which our administration recently secured another £11million to help people and businesses to upgrade to compliant vehicles.

“A study was done into the idea of a Workplace Parking Levy, which is lacking any modelling incorporating those major factors for its potential effectiveness.

“It remains incomplete and, with the current stalling of the funding and ambition to take a mass transit system forward, we have no plans to introduce this charge.”


Bristol city centre

Bristol introduced a Clean Air Zone in November 2022


In March last year, Scotland introduced plans to give councils the power to launch workplace parking levies in a bid to cut the use of private vehicles and boost public transport usage.

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