It is said that Nottingham is famous for Robin Hood and lace-making – well, according to reports it is now also famous for a shake-up of its city travel infrastructure.
According to Phys.Org the city’s public transport system carried 75 million passengers last year with 89 per cent of journeys being made by bus. It is all part of the drive to encourage drivers to get out of their gas guzzling cars and onto public transport. (One such policy is the parking levy, which sees businesses charge for workplace parking). The money effectively pays for public transport improvements, as stated here on the council’s explanatory website.
Part of this green commitment in Nottingham also includes stringent environmental standards for city centre buses and 49 electric vehicles operating on council-tendered services.
Further moves will see the country’s first fully electric Park and Ride scheme and a new low emission zone in the city centre.
So, let’s look at this a little more closely. For starters, charges for work-place parking are wrong in principle, and defy the vital issue of property ownership.
It’s for the owner of the land (if he wishes) to levy parking charges. The local authority has no moral right to do so (though they may have a legal right).
To say that the revenue was used for a particular purpose — in other words, that this was a hypothecated tax — is essentially meaningless, since it is impossible to establish the counter-factual. What would the local authority have spent on the buses in the absence of this tax? In reality hypothecated taxes are merely a rhetorical device to make citizens less unhappy with a tax (this works particularly well with those who don’t pay it!)
That said, however, measures to make public transportation easier to use and more attractive are to be applauded (if they are affordable). Electric vehicles may well have a place on city routes. Short journeys and regular routes with nights in the depot for re-charging are the ideal environment for electric vehicles.
While we in UKIP are not paranoid about global CO2 emissions, we certainly recognise an air pollution problem from petrol and especially diesel vehicles in cities, and if electric vehicles are an affordable solution, then I’m all for it.