Drivers urge Newham to apply the brakes on parking permit changes

PUBLISHED: 13:06 29 October 2020

Drivers have slammed council parking permit plans which charge people according to how much pollution a car emits. Picture: Yui Mok/PA

Drivers have slammed council parking permit plans which charge people according to how much pollution a car emits. Picture: Yui Mok/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Drivers have criticised plans to charge people with higher polluting vehicles more to park outside their homes.

Critics slammed Newham Council’s new permit charges for hitting pockets at a time when money is tight and jobs insecure because of Covid-19.

Amer Malik from East Ham said road tax and the upcoming ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) charges are already based on emissions.

“This is a triple charge. Newham is poor. This is going to hit people’s pockets hard. We’re in the middle of a pandemic. Drivers are being targeted unfairly,” the IT engineer added.

Cllr James Asser, member for environment, highways and sustainable transport said: “We are at a critical point in the battle to improve the environment and our air quality.

“In the borough with the worst pollution in the country and where poor air quality is having a significant impact on the health of the population, the young and the elderly in particular, we have to take action.”

Night shift worker Ali Ahmed, who needs his car to get to work near the A13, complained drivers can’t just switch to greener vehicles overnight.

“I’ve got bills to pay. I’ve got two children. I already pay £290 road tax. They should reconsider,” Ali said.

Newham stipulates the highest charge is £200 a year which it deems “reasonable and affordable”. It says the proposed charges are in the bottom 50 per cent of London boroughs, with “significantly higher” charges applied by other authorities.

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The Mayor of London has also introduced a £25million scrappage scheme for people on low incomes to switch to greener motors.

Most permits will cost £60 but higher polluting vehicles or additional cars will set households back more. The changes are to be introduced from January and follow the authority’s first major parking review since 2012.

Sham Ruparelia from Beckton contacted Newham in May 2019 asking for a charging point in his street because he was planning to buy an electric car ahead of the ULEZ’s introduction. But a charging point wasn’t fitted so he bought a petrol car instead.

“To now learn I’m going to be penalised because they couldn’t put a charging point outside Devalls Close has infuriated me,” Sham said.

Newham says 80 charging points have been installed with plans for more.

Neighbour, Craig Fish, added it made no sense to charge according to emissions when vehicles are parked and not emitting anything.

The mortgage broker urged Newham to tackle drivers who commute through the borough as well as businesses which pollute.

“I have no issue with tackling air quality. It seems they only want to charge residents. It’s completely unfair,” he said.

Newham pointed to the fact that the plans include emissions based business permit charges.

The council was accused of not doing enough to advertise the changes, but Newham pointed to citizens’ assemblies as well as press reports, informal and statutory consultations.

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