North Yorkshire County Council has decided to use surplus revenue created from on-street parking charges to fund sustainable transport initiatives, implement schemes to address air quality and support major road scheme development.
Up to £500,000 a year is to be used to develop the following major schemes in order to attract the necessary Government funding:
- A59 Kex Gill realignment
- Harrogate relief road review
- A1(M)/A59 junction 47
- A59 climbing lanes
For the first time up to £100k a year is to be invested from the parking charge surplus in sustainable transport initiatives to support walking and cycling; £100k a year will be committed to address air quality management in areas such as Bond End Knaresborough and the county council will also look into improvements to Seamer station, Scarborough, to increase rail patronage and mitigate some of the congestion issues on the A64.
This investment, agreed by the Council’s Business and Environmental Services Executive members, comes on top of over £1 million a year already contributed to concessionary fares through to 2019; up to £3.4 million towards the Leeds-Harrogate- York rail improvement scheme which includes twin-tracking the Harrogate-York railway line east of Knaresborough by 2019 and over £500k a year towards the running costs of the Scarborough and Whitby Park and Ride.
On-street parking charges are in operation in Harrogate, Knaresborough, Scarborough, Filey, Whitby and Northallerton in order to improve traffic flow and the turnover of car parking in town centres and to encourage people to use off-street car parks and more sustainable forms of transport where possible. Encouraging a turnover of on-street spaces is important as it enables more people to park and visit shops and businesses.
As a consequence of these charges, after the costs of Civil Parking Enforcement have been met, the County Council uses any surplus generated to re-invest in highways and public transport improvements.
In 2015/16 about £3m was generated in surplus revenue and all of this will be re-invested and particularly in those areas where the surpluses are made. “We use on-street parking charges to encourage people to use off-street car parks, reduce congestion in town centres and encourage people to use other forms of transport,” said County Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Highways. “We don’t do this to create revenue but any revenue we do make, far from going into our general coffers, is put back into highways improvements and bus and rail services. For the first time we have now decided to use surpluses to fund sustainable transport schemes such as for cycling and walking which also help to ease congestion and contribute to the health of the population.
“We have now also decided that up to half a million pounds a year will also go into developing major and much-needed schemes such as the Harrogate relief road and the realignment of the A59 at Kex Gill to avoid land slips.
“We want North Yorkshire to continue to be attractive to visitors and to be a place increasingly where people will want to set up business and invest. In order to achieve this we have to improve traffic flow in our towns and improve highways and transport links between our towns and to major cities. Any surplus we therefore make from civil parking enforcement is put wholly to this purpose.”