Opponents claim there was no consultation on 'shocking' increase
Sarah Gannon says the move is a cash grab under guise of tackling climate change
More than 2,200 people have signed a petition calling on Hammersmith and Fulham Council to reverse its unexpected increase in on-street parking charges.
From March 1, it became the latest London council to introduce a parking system where owners of vehicles with higher carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions pay more.
There are now two tiers to determine how much you pay to park in an area of the borough that’s not your street.
A vehicle will be classed as “low” emissions if it produces up to 75 grams per kilometre of CO2 (zero to 75g/km). The owner will pay £1.50 per half hour, plus 75p per additional 15 minutes.
“High” emissions vehicles produce between 76 and 226g/km, and the owner pays £2.50 per half hour, plus £1.25 per additional 15 minutes. Diesel vehicles pay an extra £1 per hour.
Parsons Green resident Sarah Gannon, who launched the petition, said it was “shocking” that the council did not consult residents or publicise the changes in advance.
“The biggest issue is that the council didn’t consult anyone. It’s shocking,” said the 42-year-old who works in mental health for the NHS.
“The only way you would have known is if you went on the parking section of the council’s website. But people aren’t going to just check every time they need to go out and some people don’t have computers or smart phones,” she added.
A council spokesman said it has tried to help residents by freezing the £1.80 per hour Residents Visitor Permit (RVP). And that the increased charges are meant to penalise “out-of-borough motorists who use H&F like a tube station car park”.
“It offers the cheapest parking rates for family, friends, childcarers, cleaners and tradespeople visiting and working in H&F. It’s a simple two-step sign-up – register with H&F and register with RingGo,” the council said.
“To support businesses we have also frozen the shopping bay charge at 20p.”
Ms Gannon said her 1.2 litre engine VW Polo, which she has owned for 10 years, had landed her in the “high” emissions category.
“It’s under the guise of stopping climate change but it feels like a cash grab. I can’t afford to buy a new hybrid car and incentives still aren’t there. Where would I charge it?
“I visit my mother’s cousin once or twice a week who has agoraphobia, and the only way to get her out of the house is to take her places in the car and park.”
It is not known how many of the 2,230 people who signed the Change.org petition are Hammersmith and Fulham residents.
The council also said it would be willing to change the new parking scheme again if it “is not meeting the aims that we have set out”.
The rise in charges comes after councils across London lost tens of millions in cash revenue from parking fees and other charges since the beginning of the pandemic.
Owen Sheppard - Local Democracy Reporter
March 11, 2021