Comment: It’s a crude way to target polluters

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the benefits of having less traffic on our roads, cleaner air, safer streets and a generally more pleasant environment, are obvious to everyone.

The difficult bit comes in persuading people to give up their cars when they don’t particularly want to do that.

A carrot and stick approach – providing high-class public transport while increasing levies on motorists – has served the Capital relatively well in that regard in recent years.

The roads might be chock-a-block at times, but they would be far worse if it were not for our excellent bus services and the ever growing costs incurred by motoring in the city.

The proposed hike in the cost of parking permits for two-car households is another step along that road.

There is already a sliding scale of permit charges which sees those with more cars or more polluting cars paying more. That is fair in so far as it follows the principle that the polluter pays.

Bumping up the charge for second car owners is certainly a way of maximising the city’s income at a time when it is struggling to balance its books.

But is it fair? Levying the charge on two-car households is a crude way of targeting polluters.

It is not a straightforward tax on ownership of non-essential cars. Two cars are essential to a minority of families due work or care commitments, while many more two-car households will be flat-sharing young professionals.

It would be fairer to lump the extra charge purely on the worst polluting vehicles, but that would almost certainly not raise as much money.

The opening up of the pay and display bays to permit holders, and vice versa, however, across the whole of the city’s controlled parking zone is a better move.

It will raise money for the city coffers at the same time as providing a genuine improvement for the majority.