Agenda item

On street parking permits and charges

A range of proposals affecting on street parking permits have been developed aimed to improve air quality through a major shift to mass transport, walking and cycling and incentives to reduce the use of more polluting vehicles in order to secure the safer movement of pedestrian traffic on the highway by reducing the public health risks posed to them by air pollution.  These proposals are also aimed to facilitate the achievement of strategic outcomes of local transport policy by reducing congestion and vehicle intrusion into neighbourhoods, and particularly residential neighbourhoods and align with the Council policy on Liveable Neighbourhoods.


Councillor Manda Rigby introduced the report by reading out the following statement:


‘I am very pleased to be proposing this motion to you today. My first task is to thank the officers for their very diligent work on this, especially Andy Dunn and Chris Major.

This is the first time in 8 years we have addressed on street parking permit charges. I’d like to take a bit of time saying what the drivers, see what I did there, for this change were.

Looking at residents parking permits, the cost has not increased for 8 years. In that time, cars have grown in size, the number of journeys has increased massively, people have become far more aware of the health and wellbeing impacts of a sedentary lifestyle and poor air quality...and we have declared a climate emergency. Owning and running a car is a very expensive endeavour, and we want to ensure when people are coming to the point that they need to replace their car, they are very aware of the other options which exist, so decide if they need the car or not....some absolutely will need a car, others may not. Part of the expense is the purchase of a parking permit, but in the scheme of overall costs, it is in some cases not as high as a full tank of petrol. We want people to look at not owning the most polluting vehicles as part of our overall Clean air programme, and so we are proposing an emission-based parking permit system.

The poorest in our society predominantly don’t own a car, or indeed have access to one, but they suffer the results of poor air quality caused by those who do. Those on lower incomes who do have a car are more likely to have an older one, with higher emissions, and we know how much many are suffering financially, so we have introduced a monthly and quarterly way of paying for our permits to spread the cost. As is common with most payment plans, we will pass on the 62p bank charge per transaction to those using the monthly option.

I’ll also look at hotel permits. We know, and have heard from speakers earlier, that our hospitality industry has really suffered this year. That’s why we as a council are trying to help by extending the Christmas market, and promoting the high street and Bath as a destination for people, whilst being as safe as we can be. However, we have to address the long-standing anomalies in hotel permit allocations.

It makes no sense for visitors to drive round and round our local streets looking for somewhere to park and for residents to do the same because they are in competition for scarce on road parking spaces. We are rebalancing this, so that locals can park closer to their homes, and visitors in the central area will need to park in a council car park. This brings us very much in line with many tourist destinations where there is no expectation a visitor can park on the streets in the centre, and, as a World Heritage site, it is even more important we protect our built as well as natural environment. If you go to the vast majority of the cities in the UK with a compelling tourist offer, you don’t expect to park in the centre, you do expect to pay extra if you bring your car, and we want to encourage visitors to use public transport to access Bath as well.

Some, though by no means not all, hotels have also been abusing the system. They have purchased an annual hotel permit for £160 per stated bedroom, and have been selling them on to their guests, or others, on a daily basis at a significant uplift, up to £30 per day.

We are introducing an automated system, which will lessen the admin burden on the accommodation providers and get rid of the paper permits. If an overnight visitor stays in Bath, they will be charged what a day visitor would be charged for a full day parking.

We don’t anticipate this will put people off coming to wonderful Bath, and as all the accommodation providers in central Bath without their own car parks will be in the same position, it will not be a commercial disadvantage to individual establishments.

As an example, we have listened and changed the original plans so that there is an inner and outer circle zones, to avoid many trips across the City from further out establishments

I appreciate these changes are very very welcomed by our local residents, and despite the compromises made, less so by our hotel and guest house community. I think history will show were we to go forward with these changes, that it is the status quo which is wrong, and that this rebalance will not adversely impact the local economy.

I am very pleased to move this motion, and hope that you can all support it.’


Councillor Manda Rigby moved the recommendations.


Councillor Tom Davies seconded the motion by thanking members of the public who responded to the consultation on these changes and to the officers who had been involved in designing this proposal. Councillor Davies added that these changes were part of Administration’s delivery of its promises to tackle the climate and ecological emergency and to address the damage caused by air pollution. It would be the Administration’s role to ensure that where changes such as these were required, would be balanced  especially against  those for whom such change would come at a cost.

Councillor Tom Davies concluded by commending the new monthly payment option for the residents parking charge and the revisions made to the hotel permit scheme following the public consultation.


Councillor Sarah Warren welcomed the report by the proven impacts on public health of air pollution arising from vehicles were the reason behind the implementation of Bath’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) earlier this year, which charges those vehicles with the highest emissions, entering the city centre, in order to encourage an upgrade to lesser polluting models.

In the first quarter of this year, even during lockdown, there had remained at least 4 spots in Bath where air pollution lingered above legal limits. There was no safe level of nitrogen dioxide pollution, so the Council must continue with efforts to reduce both the presence of, and the mileage driven by, the highest emitting vehicles in our historic city.

Councillor Warren added that the Council has acknowledged that there were individuals living on low incomes within the residents’ parking zone area, who have a real need for a vehicle, and who would struggle to upgrade a vehicle attracting a high charge. The Council would be exploring all avenues and intend to find a means of providing support for these people.

However, the young, the unborn, the elderly, and those with pre-existing lung conditions would suffer the most from poor air quality in our city, and for those reasons Councillor Warren supported this measure.

Councillor Richard Samuel also welcomed the report by saying that encouraging people to buy smaller and environmentally friendly vehicles rather than SUVs was not a new initiative as it has been standard practice in London for many years.


RESOLVED (unanimously) that the Cabinet agreed to:


1.  Consider the feedback to the consultation on proposals for on street parking permits, including terms and conditions.

2.  Support and agree to the progression of proposals outlined in section 3 of this report to statutory consultation and notification progression, namely Emissions based residents permits; Hotel permits; Medical permits; Visitor and Trade parking permits.

3.  Support and agree to the adoption of the On-street Parking Permit Terms and Conditions (Appendix 2).

4.  Support and agree to delegate future operational changes to the On-street Parking Permit Terms and Conditions, including the withdrawal of permits, to be agreed between the Cabinet Member for Transport and the relevant Director.

5.  To note the approvals previously provided by Single Member Decision (E3253) to take proposals to statutory consultation, namely on street parking charges; Sunday on street charges; Prioritise transport hierarchy; and the use of any surplus raised from the proposals. 

6.  To support and agree to the recommendation that only existing properties with a Hotel; Holiday Let; or Guest House permit will be able to have Hotel permits from the date the Traffic Regulation Order is sealed.


Supporting documents: