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Monday, 8 December 2014

Parking Charges in Brent

Aside from Council Tax, Brent's second biggest controllable income stream is parking charges.  These days, the Council also collects business rates for itself but it cannot decide the level.

For an authority in financial trouble, Brent has a decidedly lackadaisical approach to charges in this area.  Brent's general policy on charges, set in 2011, was to raise them significantly and have an inbuild lift of at least inflation.  This also mostly applied to parking charges, but in the past couple of years there has been a certain amount of apparently random tinkering without any strategy visible.

I suspect the main reasons for this are a prejudice in favour of car dependency, a low value on the benefits of reduced car use (improved air quality, lower GHG emissions, reduced congestion), a failure to recognise the inevitability of reducing car use in urban areas and simple ignorance of the basics of urban transport and planning.

There also appears to be a failure to recognise the extent to which car drivers are simply making a partial contribution to their preferred transport mode (Those roads cost a lot to maintain and repair), and a failure to make a rational comparison with the rising costs of other forms of transport compared to cars.

This is an area where some modest rises and rationalisation of charges could help protect the quality of life in the Borough.

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