Chapter II: Workplace Parking Levy
156.Section 178 defines the concept of licensing schemes, and enables licensing schemes to be introduced by a local traffic authority outside London, either singly or jointly with another local traffic authority or authorities or with a London traffic authority or authorities. A licensing scheme is the mechanism for collecting the workplace parking levy. It will be for local authorities to decide whether or not to bring forward a scheme. Section 178 also provides that the occupier of a premises will be responsible for paying charges, but allows the Secretary of State or NAW powers to specify other persons in certain circumstances through regulations.
157.The occupier of a premises will be required to apply to a local authority for a licence to park up to a stated maximum number of vehicles ("licensed units") at the premises, and pay the appropriate sum based on the charge per unit. Local authorities will be obliged to issue the licence for the number of units requested - they will not be able to use this mechanism as a means of directly controlling the number of parking places the person provides.
158.Sections 180 to 181 allow licensing schemes to cover any part of the area of the authority or authorities making the scheme, and require that a scheme must be in support of the relevant local transport plan or plans (see paragraphs 108 to 113), or, in the case of a joint scheme involving a London authority the transport strategy prepared and published by the Mayor.
159.Section 182 provides the detailed definition of workplace parking. The definition is designed to include all forms of parking by those attending premises where they will carry out their work. The parking can be at or in the vicinity of the workplace - this is intended to catch, for example, parking at a car park adjacent to the workplace, but to exclude parking at a park and ride site or station car park, where the worker makes a further journey to reach the workplace. It also is designed to include parking provided by arrangement with a third party - for example where an employer has a contract with a nearby car park company to provide a certain number of spaces for its workforce.
160.Included in the definition is parking by the employer himself, his employees, suppliers, business customers or visitors, and pupils or students at an educational establishment. Suppliers can mean, for example, a photocopier engineer called out to make repairs, or an external consultant providing advice on site. The definition also includes members of organisations such as a recreational club or Chamber of Commerce, but only when they are engaged in the carrying on of any business of the body.
Section 182 also includes a power for the Secretary of State or NAW to change this definition by regulations. This power is designed to allow the prompt closure of any loopholes which the definition may contain. It does not provide for the extension of the scope of the levy beyond workplace parking to, for example, customer leisure or retail parking.
Sections 183 to 185: Making of licensing schemes
161.Sections 183 to 185 closely follow section 168 to 170 in Chapter I on road user charging, setting out the order-making process for introducing a licensing scheme.
Sections 186 to 188: Contents of licensing schemes and licences
162.Section 186 sets out the basic elements which a licensing scheme must contain, and allows for variations in the charges according to different days or times of day, different parts of the licensing area, different classes of motor vehicles or different numbers of licensed units. For example, an authority will be able to choose to apply the levy only to parking during normal office hours on weekdays, to charge different rates for two-wheeled vehicles, or to set a sliding scale so that the charge per vehicle increases or decreases above certain thresholds.
163.Section 187 mirrors section 172 in Chapter I in granting powers to set exemptions, reduced rates or limits on workplace parking charges by regulations.
164.Section 188 sets out the essential elements that must be included in a licence under a licensing scheme. Licences may not be granted for a period of greater than one year.
Sections 189 and 190: Enforcement of licensing schemes
165.Section 189 largely follows section 173(1) to (3) in Chapter I, in providing for regulations to set out the enforcement requirements for licensing schemes. Subsection (3) makes the occupier of a premises liable to pay parking levy penalty charges but allows the Secretary of State or NAW to specify other persons in certain circumstances. Subsection (4) enables the regulations to specify arrangements for adjudication and enforcement of licensing schemes. Section 190 allows for a right of entry to premises by an authorised official to check that workplace parking is appropriately covered by a licence. It also creates an offence of intentionally obstructing an authorised official in the exercise of these powers.