First: you may have seen in the Recorder that half of Newham Councillors are now backtracking on the proposal to introduce a charge for a first parking permit in Newham. They have apparently been “overwhelmed” by requests to remove what is falsely described as a “regressive tax”
Newham Cyclists have been supporting a permit charge since October 2018, as a necessary and welcome element of rebalancing of Newham’s traditional discrimination in favour of motor traffic at the expense of active travel; and in line with all other London boroughs save one.
You are invited to let your local councillors know your views and would be welcome to draw on our earlier letter or the following (in italics). This takes account of the implications Covid 19 and addresses head on the fallacy that a charge for a first permit is a tax:
I am writing to ask for your support for the Council’s proposals for an emissions related charge for a first on-street parking permit, as does every other London Council save one.
This Covid-19 crisis has reinforced the absolute necessity for walking and cycling to be better promoted in Newham. The Council needs to do some catching up following a long period favouring motor traffic over walking and cycling. Without a significant change in direction Newham will continue to suffer from poor air quality and its crowded and polluted streets will create a hostile environment for residents and in the broader context the Council’s declaration of a climate change emergency will remain mere hollow words. We need to avoid a migration back to private motor vehicles in response to Covid-19 making public transport less attractive.
As one of the objectives of the charge is to address the overcrowding of our streets it would be right for electric vehicles to be charged, albeit at the lowest rate.
It is wrong to consider a charge for a first permit as a “tax” on Newham’s motorists. Rather it is the removal of an unfair subsidy to those better off residents of Newham who have access to a vehicle. The free permit does not even cover the administration costs of the parking scheme let alone address the “external costs” to the community of private use as a car park of public space.
Second: Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are being implemented slowly in Newham. In the meantime more evidence (as opposed to the noisy myths against) is emerging of their benefits. Please continue to talk to your neighbours about the benefits of LTNs.
Third: our next (virtual) meeting is on 25 January at 7.30pm. If you would like any particular item to be on the agenda please let me know. In any event this will be an opportunity for a full catch up.
If you would like further information on any of the above please get in touch at our e-mail address.