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Getting a bit Parky!!!

January 4, 2011

 

St Ives, England – Another twist in the tale of the motorcycle parking saga…..

As the UK Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, announces his intention to no longer set central government guidance on parking charges.

According to a statement issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government, which Mr Pickles heads up, councils and communities will be free to set parking policies that are right for their areas. Councils will be able to decide their own levels of local parking charges, proportionate enforcement and the right number of new parking spaces without hindrance from Whitehall.

Cheering in the streets then as bikers’ look forward to free secure parking, victory at a stroke for the Westminster No To Bike Parking Tax campaign.

If only it were that easy. This is all about setting competitive local charges so if you run an electric or ultra-low emission vehicle you may find yourself parking and charging up for free, but if you own a gas guzzling 4×4 you could find yourself run out-of-town by the local sheriff craftily disguised as a parking enforcement officer.

What will the effect on ‘the ground’ be? With most councils looking for any means of generating an income stream, not to mention demand management of parking spaces, it would seem highly unlikely that they will cut parking charges, more likely simple exempt low emission vehicles and charge the rest more. Neatly the Pickles announcement also means that the government can absolve itself from blame of unpopular parking charges and simple shift the responsibility to the local councils. The ‘Big Society’ in action a cynic may say.

So what about the bikers?  Well its back to a street by street council by council fight for parking. Not that the now defunct government guidance was much help as it was just that, guidance with no mandatory element for provision. We are almost certainly back to square one. Needing to prove that using a motorcycle or scooter is a sensible, safe, low emission means of transport.

No worries Steve Kenward, the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) acting, for the foreseeable future, Chief Executive has been heard to say in the past couple of months that: “we are part of the solution to the UK’s chronic traffic problem” and “we can look forward to motorcycling being regarded as a mainstream activity when it comes to government policy.” Nice one Ken, look forward to seeing you on the front line in the fight for free motorcycle parking!

Not to worry Ken you may have missed the on street parking issue but we look forward to MCIA’s involvement in the next up i.e. work place parking (WPP). Now there’s some guidance floating around that WPP should be free for motorcycles and scooters but with Pickles around who knows.

Lets face it WPP is a good way of raising revenue when, as in the current climate, traditional forms of money-raising are not sufficient. So Ken we look forward to seeing you in York, Bristol, Bournemouth, Devon, Hampshire, Leeds, South Somerset, Wiltshire, Oxford, Cambridge and Milton Keynes, all of which have local authorities, transport authorities or councils that are considering WPP.

Have fun, ride free and park free, if when and while you can.

© Back Roads Rider 2011

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Teapot permalink
    January 5, 2011 9:01 am

    Like you say, this isn’t going to be good for us. I know from experience that getting more parking requires a lot of hassling your local council and also getting lucky; if the person covering that responsibility is anti-bike, then it’s not going to happen.

    Where the whole biking lobby (especially the MCIA) has failed, is in pushing for universal free parking for bikes (yeah, with provisos, etc). Hence the Westminister debacle and the formation of No To Bike Parking Tax group.

    Most leisure riders aren’t that bothered, as the most they’ll have to pay is maybe a couple of quid at a bike meet somewhere (e.g. Helmsley, Hunstanton). But if they were faced with that every time they went out on a daily basis (rather than sunny Sundays for six months of the year), they might realise this is a big issue.

    It’s the same with Ealing removing bus lane access. It’s something that set’s a precedent and will be picked up by other councils and anti-bike lobbyists (usually also on two wheels…) to lose us what little we’ve already got.

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