OFF YOUR CHEST
PUBLISHED: 21:10 11 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:07 05 October 2010
THE controversial decision by Tower Hamlets to introduce parking charges based on CO2 emissions will force low-income families to suffer, especially those living in council flats. Targeting only some car users won't make any significant impact on improving CO2 emissions, but is simply about raising money
THE controversial decision by Tower Hamlets to introduce parking charges based on CO2 emissions will force low-income families to suffer, especially those living in council flats.
Targeting only some car users won't make any significant impact and are obviously not about improving CO2 emissions, but simply about raising more money for hard-pressed council budgets by charging up to £150 for a residents parking permit.
Permit charges in Tower Hamlets are already excessive. Neighbouring Newham only charges £15! Even Lewisham only charges £30, while Greenwich has a maximum £50 fee.
The rich people that buy the expensive apartments that East Enders cannot afford mostly come along with private secure parking facilities. They will not be affected by these increased permit charges as they do not rely on street parking, unlike most families in council flats.
Estates which transferred from the council to private housing associations will also not be affected by these charges, because the Town Hall has no control over how they manage their parking.
This just goes to prove that with Housing Choice and arms length management organisations, residents loose the control they currently enjoy with the local authority Hall.
You cannot penalise only some car owners as opposed to everyone.
The council does not appear to have studied what the actual impact on CO2 emissions will be in East London.
How can residents make an informed decision if no information is provided on the likely reduction in CO2 emissions, and the likely extra revenue that the council will raise from this measure?
Raising parking permit fees is more about raising revenue, using the prejudice for 'green' measures as an excuse, rather than a serious attempt to tackle air pollution issues.
Cabinet member Abdal Ullah stated on a Bangla TV channel that, "People are suffering from many medical problems such as asthma due to large-engine cars polluting the environment... these measures will help reduce these problems by people using smaller engine cars."
I would ask Cllr Ullah why he is he driving around in a big-engine driven Mercedes.
Permit parking schemes are permitted by law under the Road Traffic Acts and those Acts relate to the regulation of traffic and parking.
These are not Acts that mention any duty to control CO2 emissions, or give powers to local authorities to implement 'environmental' measures.
So any attempt to invoke such charges using those Acts would be ultra vires.
Under what regulations does Tower Hamlets council claim to have powers to impose charges on residents with the main purpose to control the CO2 emissions of vehicles?
The encouragement of vehicles that produce lower pollution may be meritorious.
But let's concentrate on the facts here.
Tower Hamlets council operates a huge fleet of vehicles from its own transport depots.
Most of these vehicles are the highest-polluting vehicles on our streets, all using diesel which is the most polluting fuel, as opposed to alternatives such as petrol or liquid gas.
What action has the council done to put its own house into order before forcing this extra tax on residents?
This measure is nothing to do with seriously reducing CO2 emissions. I am serious about the environment, which is why I drive a green LPG-fuelled car.
Cllr Shahed Ali
Councillor for Whitechapel
Tower Hamlets Council