MORE than 100 free parking permits have been issued for low-emission vehicles across Gloucestershire as county Lib Dems continue a drive to improve air quality.
In February 2016 the Liberal Democrats led a call to give free residents’ parking permits to all owners of ‘Car Tax Band A’ vehicles notably electric cars. This was for the first permit only. The move, agreed by the County Council, has now been operating for over a year and has been hailed as a success.
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Health, Cllr. Iain Dobie (LD: Leckhampton and Warden Hill) is delighted at the news:
"We are extremely pleased that our initiative to encourage take-up of non-polluting cars in the county has benefitted over 100 people who are now in receipt of a free parking permit.
“Three-quarters of those with a free parking permit reside in Cheltenham, which also bodes very well for our ‘Clean Air Cheltenham’ campaign launched last month and aims to cut pollution in the town.
“I am aware that the permit scheme has run for the last two financial years now and will be subject to review in 2018. The very fact that the number of permits issued has reached triple figures shows it has been a success and people are choosing to drive a low-emission vehicle.
“I strongly believe the County Council has an important role to play in tacking air-pollution across Gloucestershire. Encouraging ownership of low-emission vehicles by providing free permits at a very minimal cost surely must be seen as a good thing.
“I would certainly like to see this permit scheme continue over the life of this Council and beyond 2021.”
The news comes as local Lib Dems launched a new campaign to improve air quality in Cheltenham. The Clean Air Cheltenham campaign aims to tackle the problem of emissions in the town, which is designated as an air quality management area.
Cheltenham Borough Councillor Max Wilkinson (LD: Park) a founding member of the ‘Clean Air Cheltenham’ group and Cheltenham Borough Council Walking and Cycling Champion said:
“When it comes to tackling air-pollution it's important that councils encourage people to take small steps that can add up to a big impact.
"So it is great that more than 100 people have opted for low-emission vehicles and the Clean Air Cheltenham campaign welcomes this active support from local people.
"This is already making a difference to our air quality, but there's so much more we can be doing at borough and county level including encouraging and enabling more people to walk and cycle to work so we are all happier and healthier."