Motorists: Government defends parking shift

The Government is insisting new rules aimed at ending the "war on the motorist" are also environmentally friendly.

Minister Greg Clark said yesterday that Whitehall guidance encouraging town halls to impose higher parking charges had resulted in drivers travelling further in search of free parking at out-of-town shopping centres.

Under new measures announced by the Government, the guidance will be scrapped and councils will now be able to price parking spaces competitively to attract drivers into town centres.

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Mr Clark said the Government "has required them (councils) over the last few years to put up charges to try to force people out of their cars and on to public transport".

"But actually, one of the things that it has done... is it gets people into their cars to out-of-town shopping centres, to supermarkets with free car parks and that affects local shops.

"So it is neither green nor good for the economy to get people to leave their local shops, that sometimes are struggling, and to drive past them to park in a place that is free of charge.

"We are taking away this rule so that it will be up to local councils to make those decisions."

Ministers are also to abolish rules limiting the number of parking spaces for new homes.

Greater use of electric and plug-in hybrid cars will also be encouraged by allowing charging points to be built on streets without planning permission.