Electric car owners in Portsmouth could be exempt from permit charges
ELECTRIC car owners could dodge residential parking charges if a plan to encourage green travel is approved - but some fear this would only benefit the city's richest.
As part of proposed changes to residents' parking zones in Portsmouth, the council's transport boss, Councillor Lynne Stagg, will consider exempting households' first electric vehicle from the standard £30 charge.
And cars that produce less than 100 grams of CO2 per kilometre - falling under the band A road tax bracket - would be charged a reduced rate of £15 a year.
Cllr Stagg said: 'We want to encourage people to use more sustainable transport and move away from vehicles with high emissions to improve air quality.
'Giving people with electric cars free parking permits is one way of doing that. We currently have 36 charging points in residential areas and are looking to expand this.'
For Southsea-based driving instructor Colin Martin, who uses an electric car for lessons, this was a good way to boost electric car use. The 58-year-old said: 'It's a brilliant idea and hopefully it will encourage more people to get electric cars.
'The only thing I would ask the council to consider is allowing permits for electric cars to be used in other zones in case there isn't a charging point in their zone - or if it's not accessible. There's one on the seafront that I sometimes use.'
But Southsea resident Carole Carrell, 75, disagreed. She said: 'The problem is that electric cars are incredibly expensive - only the richest can afford them. I don't know how a free permit is going to convince people to buy them.
'Some sort of subsidy for poorer people so that they could afford electric cars would be more beneficial.'
Charles Dickens representative Cllr Claire Udy added: 'This in no way benefits anyone who may be on a lower income. I understand we need to incentivise to look toward greener initiatives but this isn't the way to do it.'
The decision will be made at a meeting next Thursday (July 11).
A further amendment to allow car sharing by issuing a vehicle with a permit for more than one zone will also be considered.