Work Place Levy (WPL) is a scheme in Nottingham, UK, whereby revenues from companies are earmarked for funding public transport, mainly Tram system extensions.
Nottingham’s WPL scheme is the first of its kind in Europe, although there have been similar measures introduced in Australia (in Sydney, Melbourne and in Perth).
The principal of the scheme is to place a modest charge upon the use of commuter parking places, to encourage employers to manage and potentially reduce the amount of free workplace parking places they provide and promote the use of sustainable modes of transport as a means of reducing congestion. It also provides the city with a source of
revenue for funding public transport infrastructure and service provision.
From the 1st October 2011, all employers within the city boundary were legally required to license their workplace parking provision and from 1st April 2012 those providing 11 or more liable places had to pay a charge equating to £288 per liable place (this has now risen to £375 per place with future rises linked to inflation). In its first three years of operation the
scheme raised £25.3m; this revenue is ring fenced for:
· Two further lines of the Nottingham Express Transit tram system (local contribution to £570m scheme)
· The upgrading of passenger facilities at Nottingham Station (local contribution to £60m scheme)
· Ongoing support for Linkbus network which fills in gaps in the commercial network serving key employment sites, hospitals, and Park and Ride services (now developed into the UK’s largest electric bus fleet with 45 electric buses in operation.operation) (approx. £2m per annum).
The scheme focuses heavily on compliance. It is necessary to ensure that all employers are informed, understand how the scheme works and are aware of their legal obligation to license their parking spaces. The WPL has achieved a 100% compliance. A key advantage is low cost compared to road pricing.
Evidence of success
In terms of modal change there are the significant indirect impacts arising from the increased investment in public transport, which includes two new Tram lines and increasing the NET capacity to 20 million passengers a year.
For every £1 raised the Levy helps to lever in at least £3 of external funding.
Remaining road users benefit through reduced congestion and improved journey times. No increase in City traffic.
The major public transport construction projects have provided 1500 new jobs.
The UK Transport Act 2000 gave Local Authorities the power in principle to introduce a WPL. However, Nottingham had to determined how such schemes can be implemented at the local level. It has been a long journey.
A crucial part to its acceptance has been a comprehensive communications campaign.
Potential for learning or transfer
WPL is an effective measure for sustainable mobility that can be transferred to other cities for funding PT improvements.
Key lessons learned and points for other cities:
· The WPL is a flexible demand management tool that can be tailored to meet local requirements in terms of coverage, charge levels, exemptions, support package etc.
· WPL income has been tied to a very specific set of measures, most notably expansion of the Tram network. This has been a strength in articulating what the introduction of the scheme will achieve.
· Fears that the WPL would have a significant impact on business location decision and inward investment do not appear to have materialised.
From the outset the scheme has been backed by strong political leadership and perseverance to see the project through. Brave decision making has not been without political risk, however considered worth taking to achieve a state of the art and integrated transport system that supports the city economy and prosperity.
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