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Manchester councillors urged to consider levy against parking commuters

A levy on workplace parking is to be considered in Manchester, as councillors try to reduce air pollution.

The move has been backed by transport group Campaign for Better Transport (CfBT), which pointed to a similar scheme in Nottingham that has proved successful.

The levy is one of several measures put forward to deal with the pollution problem after the government asked local authorities to consider preventative methods.

Stephen Joseph, CfBT chief executive, said Manchester was suffering from a similar “pollution crisis” to other cities in the UK.

“Nottingham has shown that a levy on parking spaces at work can help tackle city traffic problems - not by clobbering motorists but by getting money for improving alternatives to driving,” he explained.

“Despite initial local opposition, the levy in Nottingham is now widely supported and has funded two new tram lines and a fleet of electric buses, meaning the city now has among the highest levels of public transport use outside London.

“It's very different from a congestion charge - it's easier and cheaper to administer and is better targeted, and legally all the money raised has to go on transport.”

Nottingham’s programme began in 2012 and charges each business which takes up more than 10 staff parking spaces a levy of around £400 a year.

It raises around £9m each year to be used on other transport schemes including a fleet of electric buses, new tram lines and the regeneration of the city’s railway station.

Joseph said that a parking levy could be a major step towards dealing with the health issues created by vehicle fumes and pollution.

“Of course, it’s up to the city and its people to take their own decisions, but we hope that the Greater Manchester mayor and councils will at least consider the levy as part of the measures to cut city pollution,” he added.

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