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Government abandons town centre parking limits

Green Party: draft National Planning Policy Framework is a backwards step that will choke town centres with traffic and increase congestion and CO2 emissions The new draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) includes plans to scrap national parking restrictions, which have until now dictated the number of parking spaces a council is permitted to grant, often with a cap limiting the spaces town centres can offer.

Alan Francis, Green Party spokesperson on transport, said: "This would be a disaster for our town centres, and is another nail in the coffin of the Tory / Lib Dem claim to be the ‘greenest government ever’. They are in danger of turning town centres into glorified car parks. More car parking spaces would mean more traffic on the roads, more congestion and more CO2 emissions. Our high streets should be places for people, not places for cars."

An increase in car parking would also undermine attempts to improve bus services, and as such would be a backwards step, with extra traffic making roads less safe and less convenient for pedestrians and cyclists. The scrapping of parking restrictions follows a similar move earlier this year, when limits on car spaces for new homes and guidance encouraging higher parking charges were abolished. Alan Francis continued: "The government will kill off thriving town centres by choking them with traffic and encouraging out-of-town retail centres, which is also proposed in the NPPF." Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who announced the new policy, is notorious for insisting that his chauffer-driven ministerial car be a £70,000 Jaguar XJ. His predecessor had a hybrid Toyota Prius.

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