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WPL parking fines not on agenda

Date: 24 October 2011   |   Author: Hugh Hunston

Nottingham City Council will not "run around issuing fines" against the 25% of local businesses that have failed to register under the authority's controversial and pioneering workplace parking levy.

Registration among an estimated 3500 businesses, who qualify by having 10 or more designated employee spaces, should have been completed by 1 October for the scheme, which applies from 1 April, next year.

Companies qualifying under the scheme face an annual charge of £279 per space and the council calculates that the levy will bring in £14m a year, which is supposed to be spent on public transport. It is believed between 80% and 85% of businesses fall into the sub-10-space category and are exempt from the levy.

Jane Urquhart, the city council's head of transport, told the BBC she believed those who failed to register were either "confused about the process or unaware of the charge".

A spokesman for the council told BusinessCar: "Because it is a self-registration scheme we are reviewing what employers are telling us. We have to verify that information against the correct amount of spaces. It has been in the planning for 10 years.

"We could potentially start issuing penalty notices but we want to resolve issues before going down that road. We are not running around issuing fines for spaces people did genuinely not understand about. Even if an employer point-blank refuses to licence they will get a further opportunity to register."

Penalties are calculated on the basis of half of the annual charge per unlicensed space.

The spokesman added that the council could use automatic vehicle registration identifiers to relate licensed cars to the number of spaces registered. There is no dispensation for lower-emission vehicles because under national legislation the scheme is designed to reduce congestion, not pollution.

The council would not divulge which employers were not registered. It is understood Alliance Boots, one of the city's largest employers, has registered despite director Peter Gibson describing the initiative as "outrageous" two years ago.

Its land straddles the city boundary and in theory could have moved some of its 4500 parking spaces outside the levy territory. A spokeswoman for Boots said the company had "no update to make at the moment".

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