London Motorcycle Parking Charges Strongly Opposed by Residents

The London borough of Camden proposed late last year to introduce new motorcycle parking charges, which has now been strongly opposed


Strong opposition has been presented against the proposals of Camden Council to introduce motorcycle parking charges to the London borough.

The proposals were first raised last year, and would see the revocation of free motorcycle parking bays in the borough, to be replaced by mandatorily paid bays. Camden is not the first London council to make such proposals - in Hackney, motorcyclists have been opposing parking charges there for over two years by now - and, in fact, this isn’t even Camden Council’s first attempt, but their fourth, at bringing in motorcycle parking charges. Evidently, until now, the Council has failed.

At one point, the aforementioned charges in Hackney were set to cost motorcyclists either living or working in the borough as much as £14,000 per year, although that has been reduced. Camden’s proposals are not quite as outlandish, but motorcycle parking bays would be charged at £2.60 per day, or £2 per day for electric bikes. 

Resident permits will be available, but will be charged at the same rate for a motorcycle as for a car, and will not be available to motorcyclists who live in a ‘car free’ property. 

Camden Council defines ‘car free housing’ thus: “Car-free housing schemes generally have no car parking within the site and occupiers are not issued with on-street parking permits. However, allowances can be made for people with disabilities who are blue badge holders.” This means that motorcyclists living in car free housing in Camden will have to pay the £2.60-per-day fee for a paid motorcycle parking bay, adding to £950 over the course of a year.

There will also be business permits for motorcycles at £419, and doctors’ permits at £326 - both also costing the same as the equivalent permit for a car. 

A spokesperson for Save London Motorcycling (SLMC), a London-based group that campaigns in support of motorcyclists in the capital, said: “This is not an ambitious policy from a progressive Council; it is a regressive, counterproductive policy that secures a car-led future for Camden. The Council has made a mistake by even proposing these charges, and now is the time for councillors to correct it.”

The criticisms of the proposals from SLMC are matched by discontent among residents. 1,500 people signed a petition delivered to Camden Council by SLMC, with signatories including "the leader of Camden’s opposition, the GMB union, Camden residents and workers, carers, train drivers, couriers, doctors, and nurses," SLMC says.

A senior staff nurse at a Camden hospital individually raised concerns to SLMC that the new tax will force key workers out of the borough. They said: "I’m absolutely outraged that Camden Council would treat key workers like this. We kept Camden going through the pandemic and now they just want to kick us out. I love working with patients in Camden but using a motorcycle is the only way I’m able to continue working in Camden so if these charges are implemented I’ll have to find somewhere else to work. 

“When the NHS is already under so much strain, how many nurses and doctors can Camden afford to lose just for this misguided attack on motorcyclists? Is this what a Labour council wants during a cost-of-living crisis?”

The charges also threaten electric motorcycles, based on tyre and brake particulates. This concern is highlighted by a Camden resident of 30 years who also uses an electric bike. They said: “Resident permits for electric motorcycles are planned to be the same price as electric cars, which makes no sense in terms of space utilisation. Electric motorbikes are a vital and sustainable part of Camden’s future. The Council should reconsider these plans.”

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