Several towns and cities across the UK are weighing up implementing innovative workplace parking levies (WPL) in a bid to improve regional air quality, minimise emissions and generate funds for next-generation transport projects with sustainability at the forefront.

There are eight towns, cities and boroughs across the UK that are considering using WPLs as part of far-reaching future-proof transport plans.

Leicester is leading the way, along with Reading, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bristol, Cambridge, as well as the London boroughs of Camden and Hounslow.

Cllr Adam Clarke, deputy Leicester city mayor, said: “Like many cities, Leicester faces real challenges to improve air quality, cut congestion and encourage more people to make the shift to sustainable, clean transport options.”

Leicester City Council boldly declared a ‘climate emergency’ given that transport accounted for a quarter of the East Midlands city’s CO2 emissions in 2017. It has since claimed that “tackling carbon emissions from transport is a vital part of [its] response”, with a formal consultation in the offing with a view to introducing a landmark WPL in 2021.

The advent of WPLs is forcing fleets to weigh up alternative transport options for workers in city centre locations, whilst safely negotiating burgeoning clean air zones (CAZs) and congestion charges.

Nottingham is the only UK city to have adopted a WPL thus far, with the city council investing heavily in enhancements to public transport, including its tram and electric bus networks.

Nottingham City Council successfully claimed for over £430m in external funding, with neighbours Leicester looking to achieve similar grants for their prospective WPL from the Government.

Any proposed WPL requires approval from the Secretary of State for Transport, so each town, city and borough will need to provide convincing cases.

Further north, Edinburgh Council hopes its proposed WPL will deliver the council’s target for the Scottish capital to become carbon neutral by 2030. Meanwhile Glasgow Council has also spoke positively about introducing a WPL in the years ahead.

In London, the borough of Hounslow is looking at enforcing a WPL in and around Heathrow Airport. More than 4,000 workplace parking spaces are thought to be included in the new levy, which could raise up to £1,000 per space per annum.