EMPLOYERS who provide staff with a parking space could be hit with a special charge under new plans intended to reduce congestion in Monmouthshire. 

A proposed Workplace Parking Levy – which could cost more than £500 per parking space – is included among actions the county council is considering introducing as part of its Local Transport Plan.

It is unclear how such a parking tax would work but council officials have said it would likely be modelled on a scheme in Nottingham where employers which provide 11 or more parking places currently have to pay £522 a year for each space. 

The charge, which can be passed on to employees, applies to all parking spaces, including land owned by an employer or spaces provided elsewhere such as in multi-storey car parks. In Nottingham it is paid to the Labour-run city council which last month effectively declared itself bankrupt. 

Monmouthshire County Council, which is also Labour-led, has included the possibility of introducing such a charge in the transport plan it is currently consulting on which is intended to set out the council’s ambitions for transport infrastructure, and how it can reduce carbon emissions, from 2024 through to 2029. 

The parking tax is included as an intervention the council believes it could make to bring about “behaviour change” to get people to leave their cars behind in favour of either using public transport or walking or cycling

Debra Hill-Howells, the council’s head of decarbonisation and transport, told councillors “behaviour change” is “probably the most difficult” of the interventions to achieve but said “it is the only way we will be successful” in reducing carbon emissions and producing a shift away from the use of private motor vehicles. 

She said: “We are talking about a workplace parking levy and any income would be ringfenced for improvements to public transport.” 

Labour councillor Dale Rooke said while he was supportive of charging workers to park to attend work he was unsure how it would be put into practice when the plan was discussed by the council’s public services scrutiny committee. 

The Chepstow Castle and Larkfield member asked: “A workplace parking levy; I like the idea but I don’t know how you will make employers collect money on your behalf from their employees, and will it (the money) also be used to improve the roads rather than just public transport as without the roads you have no buses?” 

Christian Scmidt, the council’s passenger transport planning manager, said the “short answer” was it would aim to duplicate Nottingham City Council’s scheme and said: “We would do it as in Nottingham, we would try to copy as much (of what) they do.” 

He said all the money collected has to be spent on “sustainable transport” that he described as “walking, cycling and bus improvements and that can include highway improvements where necessary.” 

In Nottingham employers that provide 11 or more workplace parking places have to pay an annual charge for each of space and it is increased in line with the RPI (Retail Price Index) measure of inflation, which saw charges rise by 14 per cent this year. Disabled Blue Badge spaces are exempt. 

Employers with 10 or less spaces, excluding disabled Blue Badge holders, must obtain a licence but receive a 100 per cent discount on those 10 places, though there is no discount on the first 10 spaces for employers with 11 or more parking spots. 

The charge payer is the person nominated by the employer who will be responsible for paying the charge, though they will not be held to be personally liable. VAT is not payable on the levy however, any parking charges an employer passes on to its employees are subject to VAT. 

A consultation document produced for Monmouthshire council states: “To address traffic congestion, we propose charging employers for workplace parking, with generated revenue dedicated to local transport enhancements.” 

It also proposes “variable parking charges based on vehicle size or emissions” to “encourage a shift towards greener travel options.” 

Monmouthshire council is currently consulting on the local transport plan until January 5 and feedback received will be considered when a final version of the plan is presented to the cabinet in February. 

Councils are no longer required to produce transport plans, as the responsibility has been passed to the corporate joint committee of councils that work together across the Cardiff Capital Region, but Monmouthshire has said it has produced its own plan to “ensure its own needs feature prominently” and that its transport aims fit with the planning blueprint, the replacement local development plan, it is currently working on for the county.