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Electric car owners targeted by council cuts

by LLB staff reporter
8th Sep 23 7:05 am

Electric car owners may be asked to pay more for parking permits as councils across the UK consider measures to bring in more cash.

Kirklees Council in West Yorks recently introduced a £150 annual fee for electric vehicle permits in a bid to raise more than £600,000 a year.

Now EV experts at LeaseElectricCar.co.uk are warning drivers to brace themselves for hiked costs as other councils consider similar measures.

Currently, in the UK, electric vehicles receive the cheapest residential parking permits because councils want to support residents switching from petrol and diesel vehicles to improve local air quality.

Councils have been trying to incentivise the use of electric vehicles over internal combustion engines by offering free and discounted permits, which allow free parking in all council-owned pay and display areas.

Despite this, some councils are now beginning to introduce high fees for electric vehicle permits which were previously free.

London boroughs such as Richmond and Newham have scrapped free resident parking permits for electric and hybrid cars.

With several local councils in England reported to be at risk of insolvency due to funding holes, it is now predicted that more regions can expect EV incentives to be scrapped.

According to the Local Government Association (LGA), without an increase in funding, even well-run councils will have to take drastic action to meet their legal duty to balance the books after 13 years of cuts.

Several councils were only able to keep afloat for 2022-23 by running into millions of pounds from reserves, and are now desperately looking to cut costs as current levels of council services over the next few months are set to exceed existing available funding by at least £2bn.

Tim Alcock from LeaseElectricCar.co.uk, fears that by cutting electric vehicle incentives, people will be put off making the switch to electric cars.

He said: “With councils across the UK under immense financial pressure, they are desperately looking to make cuts and find ways to bring in more funds.

“Kirklees Council predicts they will save around £600,000 a year by charging EV owners for permits, and other councils will be eagerly watching on to see where they can make similar changes.

“Incentives like free parking and charging grants have really helped with the uptake in EV’s in the UK, and we are concerned that getting rid of these will have a severe impact on new electric car registrants.

“The use of incentives and policies have worked incredibly well overseas, especially in Norway, to help them meet EV targets and the reduction of incentives here would without a doubt hinder government targets.

“Without compelling incentives, the government’s target to end the sale of all new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 seems unrealistic, so they must support councils before more are forced to make desperate cuts.”

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