Page last updated at 18:39 GMT, Friday, 5 March 2010

Older cars at a Devon council could be charged double

The car on the left would cost 1 and the car on the right 50p

A Devon council is considering plans to charge staff with older cars a higher rate for parking.

Teignbridge District Council is proposing to scrap free car parking at its Newton Abbot headquarters.

In its place will be a two-tier charge, with cars made before January 2001 charged £1 a day and other cars charged at 50p a day.

Unions say it is unfair on lower-paid staff who earn less and cannot afford newer cars.

I question how green it is to encourage people to change their cars
Christine Bolton, Unison

The proposal, to be discussed by the council's executive on Monday, is aimed at increasing the number of staff using buses, cycle or walk to work.

It says: "Payment charges are proposed at 50p a day for cars with Euro emission standard compliant engines in standards Euro 3, Euro 4, Euro 5.

"Those higher polluting cars with engines manufactured prior to Jan 2001 would be charged £1 per day."

Christine Bolton of the union Unison told BBC News: "My car is registered prior to 2001 so I would pay the higher charges.

"I question how green it is to encourage people to change their cars.

"I would have thought, with the energy to produce newer cars, it would be better for people to hold on to the cars they have got if they are running efficiently."

'Right thing'

She added: "Staff on lower pay who can't afford to change their cars will be paying twice the amount of people who are two or three times their salary.

"That doesn't seem fair."

Council leader Alan Connett said comments from the unions and staff meant the council was "not likely to proceed with the two-tier charging system".

He said: "We do believe in a green travel plan.

"We want to encourage staff to come to work in bus or bicycle, ways which are more environmentally friendly.

"By using a car parking charge we can put that money back into helping people do the environmentally right thing."

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