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CPZ - Green or Greed last updated 19.9.10

Parking Charges based on CO2 emissions


2007 – Haringey announced Parking charges are set to rise
As the CPZ consultation of 2006 reached the end of Phase 3, Haringey got the cat out of the bag and announced changes to the pricing of parking permits. CPZ charges have being elevated to a Green Tax status. The decision was made at Haringey executive meeting on Tuesday 24.01.07. In a dramatic press release Haringey proudly announced:

“Haringey Council has become one of the first local authorities in the country to adopt parking charges based on vehicles' carbon emissions. The sliding scale scheme, agreed by the council's Executive last night (Tuesday 23 January 2007), will halve the costs of residential parking permits for owners of energy efficient vehicles, while owners of high emission vehicles will have to pay almost four times as much as they do currently

“Haringey has recently signed the Nottingham Declaration, which commits us to helping the government deliver the UK climate change programme by doing everything we can to cut carbon emissions in this borough.”

The news also made it to the BBC1 6:00 news as a small item on the London News.

Green, or killing 2 birds?
However Haringey’s green motivation was put in doubt. The plan for a CPZ permit price hike, was on the executive agenda way before even the first CPZ consultation phase.  A shortfall of £500,000 in the transport budget was repeatedly mentioned in both executive agendas and minutes even before 2006 local elections and was continually moved forward from the council EC meeting in April 2006 and then again by the newly elected council EC meeting in July 2006, the time the CPZ consultation started. A fact that has further tainted Haringey 2006’s consultation process as severely flawed, since people were consulted on false information with what seemed to be intent to mislead by hiding the facts.

Reading those documents, it is clear that the decision to raise the cost of CPZ permits was deferred till after the CPZ was expanded and the link between raising the price of CPZ permits and plugging the hole in the transport budget is openly discussed.

Would green tax lead to use of greener cars or no car use?

Putting aside the true motivation for the change, most will agree that reducing pollution is a good idea, an ideal to aim for. However there are many ways to skin this cat and before putting such a scheme in place you would think that great attention to detail was used to get this type of policy right, if we are to see any real change. At the very least you would want to have measures put in place that would enable you to monitor whether or not the policy put in place is working, or is just a waste of time and resources.

A closer look at the the scheme exposed all it's failings before it was even put in place, which unfortunately re-enforced the public perception that this was not a genuine attempt at tackling the issue of emissions, pollution, or climate change, but rather a mere jump on the green bandwagon in order to justify the price hike and make it more palatable.

Haringey consultation notices on changing parking Charges based on CO2 emission

Photograph By Alan Stanton
Haringey's Consultation notices on Changing CPZ permit charges to a CO2 emissions charges 2007.

The first and most obvious flaw behind the rational of this scheme, was the fact that emission’s tax is applied to a none emitting cars, or as Paul Watters, the AA's head of transport policy told the telegraph: “It is ludicrous to penalise a vehicle on its emissions when the car is switched off." Anyone with anything between their ears would see this a mile off... Winning no friends here...

Next was the fact that there was no intention to monitor how successful, if at all this scheme is going to be. A fact admitted to by the cabinet member for the environment at the time. When quizzed on this at a scrutiny committee he tried to brush it aside, but when pressed he had to admit NO base measurements were ever taken and further admitted Haringey had no means to measure CO2 and that this was a theoretical stipulation based on 'data'... By data one might take it to mean data aggregation of how many people own what car, which you would expect Haringey to have at their finger tips, after all they do sell permits based on the type of car one owns. So no vote of confidence here either...

Looking at the way the scheme itself was modelled, raised even more doubts of it ever promoting a change in behaviour. It became clear that the simplification of the emissions bands was simplified to the extent of killing any incentive for change, leaving people feeling penalised because they could not afford to buy a 'greener' car. In fact those with a modest family car were to see their parking cost go from £25 all the way up to £90. Worse still, under the new charging scheme in some cases one is better off having a small but ‘older than 2001 car’, which meant the scheme was encouraging the use of older, more polluting cars.

For a detailed report on this, please feel free to read 'Comments on Haringey proposed policy of CO2 Emission Based CPZ charges' (pdf)

In 2007 when Haringey full council voted to bring this on, there was only one local authority in the whole of the UK who was in the process of implementing a similar policy; that was Richmond Council. Unlike Haringey, Richmond scheme was properly consulted on and great consideration was given to both the aspect of introducing an incentive for change and making sure this was a revenue neutral exercise, rather then revenue raising.

2010 - Did CO2 emission based CPZ charges make any difference?

Now 3 years on and Richmond is poised to scrap their CO2 parking charges

"The new administration plans to change the system to encompass a flat fee for CPZ permits and 30-minutes, free parking for residents at a cost of £241,000 a year, as well as a one-off £90,000 fee to change parking meters."

"Speaking at the meeting, Councillor Katharine Harborne said: “There is evidence this car parking CO2 emissions charge maybe was a good idea at the time it was introduced – it was a good experiment and got a lot of publicity – but made no change to people’s behaviour. " 10.9.2010 | Independent

Will Haringey be brave enough to follow suite? Will Haringey dare to take an honest look to see if their policies are working?

According to Haringey website: A 4% reduction in CO2 was achieved between 2005 and 2007. However we see no rush to publish the 2008 figures which clearly show that trend reversed and despite all the measures put in place, Haringey's emissions are up 4% back to the 2005 levels. See table on the right >> for more details download the UK statistics for 'Full Local CO2 emission estimates, sector and fuel details' (xls) published by the department of Energy and Climate Change.

Alan Stanton, Haringey councillor for Tottenham requested Haringey officers to send him figures for CPZ permits bought over the first three years of the scheme. These show how many people paid for what permits - low, medium, and high emission vehicles, and the so-called "gas guzzling" cars. It clearly shows the scheme did not make any difference at least not in the right direction!

Haringey CPZ permit sales figures

 

 

How CO2 emissions are calculated?

"In order to calculate CO2 emissions generated within the borough, we recently developed a scenario which estimated that Haringey produced 967 kilo tonnes per annum (ktpa) during the year 2003. This is equivalent to every Haringey resident flying to New York and back five times a year. Haringey’s baseline information shows that energy use in the domestic sector is responsible for 50% of CO2 emissions, transport is responsible for 18% and the rest of the emissions come from non-domestic buildings including council offices." Haringey website

As is evident there is no mention of any measurement taken, but rather alluding to some vague 'developed scenario, which estimates'

It goes on to say:

"One of the key areas of action for reducing CO2 emissions in Haringey is through controlling CO2 emissions in new build developments."

However despite all the good intentions and the development of clear policies to reduce CO2 emissions from new build developments, when it came to Haringey developing a brief, submitting a planning application to itself and granting itself permission, to turn Hornsey Town Hall and it's site into housing, such promises or environmental considerations fell short with the excuse that it was not financialy visible to implement any green options... mmm...

To be fair, Haringey are not alone when it comes to the lack of real measured data. The reliance on formulated statistics, derived from all sorts of other data sets, is systemic as is apparent from publications of the the Department of Energy and Climate Change. In the UK emissions statistics page on the department web site they write:

"UK emissions statistics are labelled as “estimates” so as to make it clear that there are still certain levels of inaccuracies associated with them."

According to Haringey website: A 4% reduction in CO2 was achieved between 2005 and 2007.

Click here to download the UK statists for 'Full Local CO2 emission estimates, sector and fuel details' published by the department of Energy and Climate Change. Statistics for 2008 shows that Haringey total CO2 emissions has increased back to the the 2005 emissions levels...

Year Haringey CO2 Emissions
2005 1038.02
2006 1047.11
2007 998.49
2008 1027.77

 

 

 

 
 

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