Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Richmond Park Car Parking Charges Scrapped

This story is from the proverbial horse's mouth i.e. Zac Goldsmith. The tousle-haired millionaire ex-non-dom environmentalist opposed the move to introduce car parking charges in his election campaign, and true to his word, has managed to get the charges scrapped. (I've blogged about the history here and here). I was never a big fan of the parking charges as they penalize Park visitors but drivers who use the Park as a rat-run got to do so for free. However, past attempts at restricting traffic have fallen victim to the pernicious orthodoxy of 'traffic flow' which means that the peace and tranquility of the Park and its status as a site of special scientific interest have to take second place to the desires and convenience of motorists.

There's an interesting comment he has added to his blog:

“Given the current economic climate, we will need to find alternative sources of income instead, but we will try to respect local residents’ views and preserve the environment of these wonderful and precious spaces too.”

If you're a regular visitor to the Park, you'll have noticed that the roads have been resurfaced, so it's no wonder the income is needed. Given the immediate need to cut public spending, Zac should be pressing for the expensive damage that motors cause to the Park's roads and its environment to be limited, by restricting motor traffic. Especially given his spotless environmental credentials. The Government are fond of saying they have 'no choice' but to cut the deficit. Let's see if they make the right choice here. Maybe by "alternative sources of income" Zac means a charge to drive through the Park? Or maybe he's going to develop a shopping centre there, or luxury flats?

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