Page last updated at 14:45 GMT, Thursday, 11 March 2010

Attempt to block Royal parks parking charges fails

Deer in Bushy Park
Drivers could be charged for parking in Richmond and Bushy parks

An attempt by peers to block proposals to impose parking charges in Richmond and Bushy parks has failed.

Lib Dems had tabled a motion to scrap the plan which would see drivers at the south-west London parks paying between 50p and £3 a day for parking.

But their motion was defeated. The House of Lords backed a Tory amendment which said it "regretted" the plans.

The government said it would like to use income from the charges to help maintain car parks and roads.

Other Royal Parks in London, such as Greenwich and Hyde Park, already charge for parking.

'More imaginative'

The Liberal Democrat motion in the House of Lords was defeated by 23 votes while the Tory motion won by a majority of 65 votes.

The Tory amendment did not support or call for the plans to be thrown out but instead urged the government to find alternative sources of funding.

Conservative peer Lord Howard of Rising said that a consultation showed 84% of local people were against the charges which he said would only raise £345,000.

"If money must be found than let's have a more imaginative policy than dumping railway-style car parks in the middle of our parks," he said.

Lib Dem peer Baroness Jenny Tonge criticised the Tories for not supporting their motion.

'Not unreasonable'

"I'm disappointed the Tories failed to rise to the challenge and help us defeat the government on this ill-advised regulation.

"Their spinelessness means the car parking charges will now definitely go ahead.

"People on low incomes, elderly people, those who have trouble walking or who have young children will be hit hardest," she said.

Labour peer Lord Brett said the proposed charges of up to £2 per day in Bushy Park and up to £3 for a day in Richmond Park were "not unreasonable".

"Anyone who visits the parks can see the odious and negative impact that traffic has. Not only does it diminish the special ambience of the parks but it leads to degradation of the car parks."

He added that about £2.7m was needed upgrade car parks in the area.

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