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Are Westminster Conservative Councillors left alone with their bike parking tax?

August 5, 2009

Westminster City Council have been facing massive opposition to stealth taxing motorcyclists for parking since they first introduced this ridiculous scheme in August 2008. Thousands of bikers and their supporters have been emailing and writing to the Council to express their opposition to charging for motorcycle parking, and the Council has to date consistently refused to listen.

Conservative Councillor Danny Chalkley, the architect of the bike parking tax, has been running Westminster parking services with closed ears, assuming that the No To Bike Parking Tax campaigners would go away with time. Not only the campaign is not going away, but it has also been growing at an impressive rate, with thousands of supporters joining, who are all keen to see the bike parking tax scrapped at the earliest opportunity. We must confess that, when Kieran Fitsall of Westminster parking services, said that the bike parking demonstrations were nothing the Council had seen before, we laughed so much that we ended up with a big stomach cramp! Come on mate, we are talking about thousands of people protesting at the bike parking tax every single month in the streets of Westminster, not just a few people who have absolutely no idea whatsoever of the many benefits that motorcycles bring to the environment, including reduced road congestion and air pollution. Not to mention the thousands of objections received by Westminster Council during the period from August 2008 to February 2009, and also during the three weeks window to 3rd July 2009. Well, let’s say that the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign is something that Westminster have never seen before, a protest group of a magnitude that the Council has never had to deal with in the past. And they’re still trying to ignore the campaign! Oh well, let’s see if they keep ignoring it in court for having, as we are told, illegally introduced a parking tax, which could potentially have a serious impact on the pay by phone contract awarded to Verrus, a Canadian owned organisation. If we were Councillor Danny Chalkley, we would scrap the bike parking tax right now. It’s never too late to admit your own mistake, isn’t it?

Anyway, Westminster seem to be the only council ignoring the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign. We very well know that other councils, such as the City of London, would love to introduce parking taxes for motorbikes and scooters in a view to filling up their coffers, like Westminster have been doing. Below is an extract of a recent statement made by the City of London Corporation:-

“Officials, however, showed no enthusiasm for the idea [that is of charging for motorcycle parking], citing practical problems and reminding committee of previous protests from bikers, which had blocked City streets”.

You can read the full statement here on page 5.

At least, we have a good example of a council who is paying some attention to public opinion. The City of London, who undoubtedly would love to fill up their coffers by taxing motorcyclists to park, seem to have decided not to because of the fear of seeing thousands of motorcyclists blocking their streets for hours every three weeks or so. How embarrassing would it be if massive traffic jams took place in the City of London because of repetitive motorcyclist demonstrations, causing massive disruption to a major international financial district? Surely, this would be mentioned in the news worldwide under the title “London financial district brought to chaos because of motorcyclists protesting at a parking tax introduced by local Councillors”. Clearly, the City of London cannot afford such a bad publicity, and we very well know that, like any other council, should they dare to introduce bike parking charges in their borough, they may see the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign coming their way.

We note that other London councils, such as Wandsworth, Hammersmith & Fulham, Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Greenwich, Hackney, Haringey, Harrow, Lewisham, Merton, Newham, Richmond, Waltham Forest, to name a few, all offer FREE parking to motorcyclists, whether residents or visitors (source: http://www.motorcycleparking.com/parking_london.shtml). Why is that? Because motorcycles are the solution to reducing air pollution and road congestion, so why discourage their use by stealth taxing them? At least, some councils have a bit of common sense, unlike Westminster, who keep coming up with ludicrous excuses such as the following:-

“Motorcycles, even small ones, pollute more than Hummers”

“Being environmentally friendly would be to encourage motorbikers to use more public transport”

The above statements are from Councillor Susie Burbridge who, while recommending that bikers should switch to public transport in a view to being more environmentally friendly, enjoys the benefit of FREE parking in Westminster, as in her opinion, her Hummer pollutes less than a small motorcycle with an engine size of 50 cc! Only Conservative politicians can say things like this, to the extent that we sometimes wonder on what basis David Cameron appoints his colleagues. Absolutely chocking, and these are the kind of politicians who fight to head up the United Kingdom and represent this country in the European Union! Some of them have actually failed in the last European elections, like Belgian Conservative Councillor Jean-Paul Floru who, after having failed in his home country, thought he would try again in the UK.

Some more statements made by Westminster Conservative Councillors are available here, some of them are worth a good laugh.

 THE CAMPAIGN WILL TAKE WCC TO COURT SHORTLY, WE HOPE THAT THE BIKE PARKING TAX WILL BE SCRAPPED!

 

Please join and support the legal fight to get the bike parking tax in Westminster scrapped before it spreads all over the UK and the European Union. The next demonstration is on 16th August 2009, don’t miss it! For further details, visit  http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

Soutenez et participez au proces dont le but est de forcer la mairie de Westminster a supprimer la taxe de stationnement des deux-roues avant que le concept ne se propage a travers le Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. La prochaine manifestation est prevue pour le 16 aout 2009, ne la manquez pas! Pour plus d’informations, consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

 

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