Workplace parking levy

An annual charge to businesses for staff parking spaces at their premises.

What is a workplace parking levy (WPL)?

It is an annual charge to businesses for staff parking spaces at their premises.  

Any business with 11 or more staff parking spaces in Oxford City Council’s administrative area, within the Oxford ring road, would pay the WPL. 

Employers may pass some or all of the charge on to employees who drive to work. This is up to individual employers to decide. The money raised by the WPL will be used to improve transport in the city, including bus services and walking and cycling infrastructure, and to cover the cost of implementing and running the scheme.

The WPL is expected to affect approximately 130 businesses in Oxford. A large proportion of businesses and employers in Oxford will therefore not have to pay the levy but will benefit from improved transport in the city.   

Reasons

  • A WPL will encourage commuters to use an alternative, less polluting means to get to work, rather than travelling in private cars. This could include walking, cycling or the use of public transport.
  • A WPL can help reduce traffic and generate funds to improve alternatives to car travel including more bus services and better cycle lanes. 
  • By law, the funds generated by the WPL will and must be used to improve transport in and around the city. 

How it works

Employers in the city will need to obtain an annual licence for their workplace parking spaces. The licence will be free of charge for employers with 10 or fewer spaces.  Employers with 11 or more spaces will pay a charge based on the number of workplace parking spaces they provide.  

Employers can decide whether to pass some or all of this charge on to employees who drive to work.

Proposed location

It is proposed that any business with 11 or more staff parking spaces in Oxford City Council’s administrative area, within the Oxford ring road, would pay the WPL.

Location of the area of the workplace parking levy.

Frequently asked questions 

How many organisations will be affected by the WPL?

About 130 businesses and employers may be affected by the WPL.  The actual number will depend on the final scheme design. Oxford is home to around 4,000 businesses, and most organisations will not be affected but will benefit from improved transport in the city.       

Is the WPL simply a tax on businesses? 

A WPL is a charge on workplace parking spaces used for commuting - one of the main causes of peak-period congestion and pollution in Oxford. By law, money raised by the levy must be spent on improving transport infrastructure in the city.  In Oxford, that means providing additional investment to improve bus services and make walking and cycling routes safer and more comfortable.  

The net revenue generated by the WPL will benefit all businesses and employers in the city by helping to reduce congestion and therefore the risk of their staff being caught in traffic, as well as improvements to alternative modes of travel.  

What economic impact with the WPL have on businesses and will there be any exemptions or discounts for businesses? 

A detailed economic impact assessment of the WPL (alongside the traffic filters and wider city centre zero emission zone) is being carried out and will be presented as part of the public consultation this summer.

Only businesses that have 11 or more staff car parking places will have to pay the WPL. The vast majority of businesses and employers in Oxford will therefore be exempt but will benefit from improved transport in the city.       

The following will not be affected by the WPL:  

  • Commuter parking spaces at workplaces where 10 or fewer commuter spaces are provided.
  • Blue badge holder spaces.
  • Visitor parking.
  • Customer parking.
  • Operational spaces (including emergency services).

Will the money raised by the WPL be enough to improve walking, cycling and bus facilities in Oxford?

A WPL will provide major funding for transport improvements in and around Oxford.  An initial estimate suggests it could generate around £40million of additional transport investment over a ten-year period.  This will be used to accelerate the delivery of transport plans.  And if Oxford can replicate the success of other local authorities in securing additional funds, including from central government, the impact of the WPL would be increased considerably.  

Why have you expanded the area covered by the workplace parking levy?

Feedback from employers and businesses, during engagement on previous WPL proposals in autumn 2019, confirmed support for an expanded WPL, especially in the city centre.

What will the charge for the WPL be?

The current working assumption is that the WPL charge will be £600 per year for each chargeable workplace parking space.  However, several factors will determine the final tariff including: 

  • Economic impact on businesses and employers liable for the charge.
  • Economic impact on employees (should the charge be passed on).
  • Impact on commuting behaviour, and consequently on congestion, air quality and carbon emissions. 
  • Funds required to deliver transport improvements. 
  • Comparison of equivalent bus fares and existing public car parking charges.
  • Learnings from other WPLs.

Can the charge be increased?

Similar to the WPL implemented by Nottingham City Council current proposals are to increase the charge each year in line with inflation.  This will be confirmed when the scheme is consulted.  

Why can’t the council get money for transport improvements from somewhere else (central government, for example?)

The county council has been very successful in securing government and other transport funding.  However, government transport funding for local authorities is not always available and is usually secured on a competitive basis with additional funding required from the local authority.  Having a local source of funding from the  WPL will help the county council take advantage of additional grants and means longer-term investment is available.