Parking charges, Covid, unneutered cats and driving into London

Penalty charge notices affixed to several cars left in restricted parking bays on a road near Gatwic

A parking permit scheme for residents has proved controversial - Credit: PA

New parking charge is wrong

C J Stacey, Newham, full address supplied, wrote to Cllr James Asser: 

Paying money to park in a road where we pay council tax is wrong. Where will this money be going and what proof do we have that this money is going improve air quality in Newham?

We have an airport in Newham, do you plan to charge them? Plus you have two major motorways. Of course you are going to get pollution, even Noddy could work that one out.

Will Newham staff who drive (in a non-Covid world) to work and park in the already overcrowded streets around building 1000 be subject to this vastly inflated charge?


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When residents’ parking was first introduced in September 2017, I objected to this.

Newham Council issued so many ‘Business Permits’. Richard House Drive, Stansfield Road and surrounding roads all became Newham Council’s personal parking lot, which is disgusting. 

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Us residents now find it hard to have any visitors, deliveries or workmen.

I understand ‘Business Permits’ are for staff that use their personal cars for daily business use. 

Ninety five per cent of the cars parked in these areas don’t move all day. 

Please explain why council staff cannot stop using their cars and use public transport like the rest of us. 

I for one will not be paying this ridiculous and probably illegal charge (I’m seeking legal advice).

Symptoms? You must self-isolate

Unmesh Desai, London Assembly member for City and East, writes:

Baroness Dido Harding, who leads the government’s struggling Test and Trace scheme, has finally acknowledged what we have known for a long time – that a significant number of people are not self-isolating with Covid-19 symptoms for financial reasons.

In fact, a recent government-funded study has revealed that, during the first lockdown, just 18 per cent of respondents in the UK with a temperature, a continuous cough or loss of smell and taste had stayed home as the guidelines ask.

Whilst there will be multiple reasons behind these findings, and I really do urge those with symptoms to isolate, there are actions the government could be taking right now to increase compliance with the rules.

In recent weeks, we have heard concerns from councils about the government’s current self-isolation payment system.

Some case studies have shown that local authorities are rejecting the majority of applications because the criteria are too narrow, whilst other already cash-strapped councils have spent millions of pounds of their own money to meet surging demand and amidst a shortfall in funding from government.

For the sake of our community’s safety, the government must urgently fix these issues, or raise Statutory Sick Pay so it is in line with the London Living Wage.

Keep unneutered cats indoors

Baby, a female cat 8y2m (approx.) at Cats Protection Belfast Adoption Centre as the animal charity h

Cats Protectoin League is urging owners to keep unneutered cats indoors - Credit: PA

Sarah Reid, acting head of neutering, Cats Protection, writes: 

With World Spay Day coming up on February 23, Cats Protection is urging that unneutered pet cats are kept indoors to prevent a potential kitten crisis.

We estimate that around 70 per cent of kittens born in the UK are the result of unplanned pregnancies, which puts severe pressure on owners to arrange for their feeding, care and rehoming.

The pandemic has meant that we are only able to take in a small number of cats as emergency cases. This is why we’re asking the public to help us by ensuring that unneutered cats are kept indoors, and unneutered siblings kept apart.

The coronavirus has affected many vets too. Many have had to prioritise emergency appointments, meaning access to neutering operations will vary. It is important to check with your vet for availability and make an appointment in advance if you can.

Cats Protection can help owners on limited incomes with the cost of neutering pet cats.

To find out if you are eligible, call our Neutering Line on 03000 12 12 12 (option 2) or visit cats.org.uk/neutering where you can also find out more about neutering and its benefits.

No plan for fee to drive into capital

Dr Alison Moore, Labour’s London Assembly Transport spokesperson, writes:

There have been some recent media reports suggesting that motorists living outside our city could soon be charged £3.50 each time they drive into London.

We need to do some myth-busting here. For the time being, there are no concrete plans for this to happen. This is just one of several ideas that TfL is exploring to plug the gaps in its finances left by plummeting passenger numbers as a direct result of the pandemic.

The preferred option, which the mayor is lobbying the transport secretary, Grant Shapps for, is for London to keep hold of the £500m it generates through Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) each year.

This is all currently spent on maintaining roads outside of the capital. In fact, this week, new government figures have shown that London’s contribution this year will pay for the entire national budget allocated to fixing potholes in other areas of England.

On the London Assembly, all political groups have backed VED retention as the way forward and it will help us to avoid the need for a boundary charge.

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