PLANS to introduce a congestion charge to ease pressure on beauty spots in Derbyshire’s Peak District have been scrapped.
The suggestion, put forward by a councillor on the Peak District National Park Authority, would have seen motorists charged for entering the national park in a scheme similar to London’s congestion charge zone.
However, concerns that the idea would exclude many visitors from accessing the countryside fuelled opposition to the proposal.
Councillor Chris Furniss confirmed this week that the move – intended to reduce the number of cars on the area’s roads – had now been discarded.
“I introduced it at a committee meeting as a possible way of controlling traffic into the national park,” he said.
“There was some support from members but not sufficient for it to be considered for policy.”
Expanding on the plan’s dismissal, Councillor David Chapman explained the authority did not even possess the ability to levy a charge on motorists.
“Further to recent reports in the media regarding road user or ‘congestion’ charging within the Peak District, the National Park Authority has no powers or remit to pursue road user charges in the Peak District,” he told the Derby Telegraph.
“Indeed, within the National Park there are seven different highways authorities with responsibility for the roads network.”
Authority has ‘no power’ to impose Peak District charge
Such a scheme – regionally or nationally – would require agreement across all of these authorities and would be subject to public consultation, including consideration of any recommendations from groups such as the Transport Select Committee or the Department for Transport.
“Climate change remains perhaps the biggest challenge facing all of our protected landscapes,” the councillor added.
“Potential approaches such as road user charging which seek to influence private car use are just one of a number of options that could be considered to help achieve sustainable transport solutions, tackling the wider impacts from vehicles in our national parks. The impact of road user charges on all potential visitors would also need to be reviewed.
“Comments made during a recent discussion between national park officers and authority members sought to highlight the long-term, future financial implications of achieving sustainable transport in our national parks, both locally and nationally. There are no plans or proposals in place currently that include road user charging for the Peak District.”