About parking

Parking fees in towns are typically implemented for various reasons. Specific reasons for implementing parking fees may vary depending on the local context, priorities, and objectives of the authorities or organisations responsible for managing parking.

The fees charged for parking can also vary based on factors such as location, duration of parking, time of day, and the availability of alternative parking options. 



Our position

  1. Address concerns regarding the potential negative impacts on town centres 

  2. Advocate for reducing the cost of parking and ensuring sufficient availability of parking spaces 

  3. Promote the importance of offering diverse payment options 

  4. Emphasise the need to preserve accessibility and inclusivity 

  5. Encourage cohesive and comprehensive planning by local authorities 

What you can do

Keep us informed by letting us know of any current issues, opinions or updates. Email membership@bira.co.uk. 

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Things to consider

Managing Demand: In busy town centres, parking spaces can be limited and in high demand. Charging for parking helps manage this demand by encouraging turnover and ensuring that spaces are available for a reasonable period of time. By deterring long-term parking, it allows more people to access businesses, services, and amenities within the town.

Encouraging the use of Public Transport: Charging for parking can incentivise individuals to utilise public transport instead of driving their vehicles into town centres. This helps reduce traffic congestion, lower carbon emissions, and promote sustainable transportation options.

Generating Revenue: Parking fees can provide a source of revenue for local authorities or private parking operators. The generated funds can be utilised for various purposes, such as maintaining parking infrastructure, funding public services, improving transportation systems, or supporting local development initiatives. 

Encouraging Alternatives to Cars: By charging for parking, local authorities can encourage alternative modes of transportation, such as walking, cycling, or car sharing. This supports sustainability goals, reduces pollution, and promotes healthier lifestyles.

Encouraging Economic Activity: Effective parking management, including the use of fees, can help regulate the availability of parking spaces and facilitate a turnover of visitors to town centres. This can benefit local businesses by ensuring a steady flow of customers and preventing all-day parking that could hinder business turnover.

Enforcement and Regulation: Charging for parking can sometimes allow for better regulation and enforcement of parking rules and regulations. It helps ensure compliance with parking restrictions, designated zones, and time limits, promoting fairness and efficient use of parking spaces. 

Additional information

Bira understands concerns regarding the attitudes of local authorities towards parking and the potential negative impacts on town centres.  

Preserving access and ensuring the vitality of local businesses are essential for a thriving community.  Some key points include: 

Affordability and Availability

Bira advocates for reducing the cost of parking and ensuring sufficient availability of parking spaces. High parking fees can discourage people from visiting town centres and lead them to seek alternatives, such as retail parks with free parking. By making parking more affordable, local authorities can encourage footfall and support local businesses. 

Payment Options

Bira recognises the importance of offering diverse payment options for parking, including both cash and card payments, as well as mobile apps. Providing multiple methods of payment ensures accessibility and convenience for all individuals, regardless of their preferred payment method. 

Pedestrianisation and Alternative Routes

In cases where parking spaces are reduced due to pedestrianisation initiatives, Bira advocates for local authorities to consider alternative routes and modes of access to town centres. Investments in public services and public transportation can help provide accessible alternatives for people who rely on cars for shopping and need to access the town centre. 

Accessibility and Inclusivity

Bira emphasises the need to preserve accessibility and inclusivity for local shops. It is important to consider the needs of various groups, including the older generation and young parents who may rely on cars for transportation. Accessible parking options and transport alternatives should be developed to ensure that everyone can access local businesses. 

Comprehensive Planning

Bira highlights the importance of cohesive and comprehensive planning by local authorities. While sustainability and zero-carbon initiatives are essential, it is crucial to develop a holistic plan that takes into account the needs of local businesses, residents, and visitors. Balancing environmental goals with the economic viability of town centres is crucial for long-term success. 


By engaging with local authorities, advocating for accessible and affordable parking, promoting diverse payment options, and emphasising the importance of comprehensive planning, Bira aims to support the interests of small businesses and ensure the continued vitality of town centres.