Parking has been a hot topic with discussions about when (or if) to end the free parking for NHS staff in England, as reported by pretty much every British news outlet – The Guardian referring to “confusion” which seems appropriate given the conflicting statements, with the Department for Health announcing an end to the programme (Yahoo) but Nicky Morgan describing the report as having “no foundation” (The Independent). A wide range of the articles on this can be found on Google’s news service. ukparking view: Parking costs money to provide, both in running costs and the value of the land. A blanket policy of forcing hospitals to make any staff (or visitor) parking free may backfire as hospitals either spend money that could be spent on care on cars, or give up and sell off the car parks, leaving no parking. Parking policies need to be set locally as different hospitals have very different needs – hospitals near the centres of large urban areas will have much higher land costs and more staff able to walk, cycle, or use public transport than rural hospitals. Does offering free car parking, but not secure bicycle parking or subsidised bus passes really support the governments aims to increase active travel and improve air quality? This policy shouldn’t last forever – but the government does need to communicate much better how and when it will end.
Meanwhile, many councils are already feeling the cost of free parking, with Kent news one of several outlets to report on the impact falling parking revenue is having on council revenues.
The RAC Foundation reports that requests for registered keeper details from private parking companies were 24% higher last year than the year before – suggesting a matching rise in the number of private parking penalties issued.