Changes to controversial Newham parking scheme announced

Exhaust pipe

Newham Council is proposing changes to its emissions-based parking scheme. - Credit: PA

Changes to a controversial parking scheme are to be put to the vote.

The changes to Newham Council's scheme announced on Friday, January 22, include doubling an introductory discount for the first parking permit from 20 per cent to 40pc.

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said: “I am in touch with people every day hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis, helping them get the health and financial support they deserve.

“It is my job as mayor to listen to people who voted for me and be their champion. I am therefore proposing to help lift the financial burden on people during Covid-19 by changing the emissions-based parking scheme."

Under the amended proposals, households would pay smaller amounts at a time with the option to buy three and six month-long permits in addition to the current annual permits.

People who have already signed up to the scheme - MiPermit Newham - and bought a permit will be given a 20pc refund for the first permit for each household.

Those who have already purchased an annual permit will be able to change it for a three or six month permit and get a refund.

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Councillors are due to vote on the changes at a full council meeting on February 2.

The emissions-based scheme was activated earlier this month and has divided opinion with 32 councillors writing an open letter to the mayor demanding it be halted.

Under the scheme, most parking permits are expected to cost £60, but those for higher polluting vehicles or additional cars are more expensive. 

The scheme sparked five petitions calling for it to be scrapped in part due to the effect on people's finances at a time when pockets have taken a hit from the pandemic.

Liam Adam, who campaigns against the scheme, said: "Unfortunately the first car tax is designed to raise revenue not cut emissions.

"London’s air quality continues to improve and this will be ameliorated by the introduction of the ULEZ in October."

However, supporters - including campaign group Better Streets for Newham - argue it will encourage people to walk or cycle rather than jump in their cars for shorter journeys.

In an open letter to the mayor shared online on January 19, the group states: "Newham has some of the worst air pollution in the country, and it is crucial we tackle road transport's contribution".

The current scheme stays in place with full effect until the meeting. If the councillors vote in favour, then the proposed changes will come into effect on February 8.

In the meantime, people have been advised to continue renewing their permits before they expire. People without a valid parking permit could be fined.