Free Christmas parking in Brent slammed by climate campaigners

Brent Council's festive free parking 'fift' slammed by environment campaigners. Picture: Sylvia Gaut

Brent Council's festive free parking 'fift' slammed by environment campaigners. Picture: Sylvia Gauthereau/Brent Cycling Campaign - Credit: Archant

Brent Council’s offer of free parking for motorists over Christmas has been slammed by campaigners as a “toxic gift”.

Shoppers have been able to park for free on the weekends leading up to Christmas in 10 council-owned car parks across Brent.

Car parks in areas including Wembley, Queen's Park, Neasden, Harlesden and Northwick Park have been free to use on the weekends.

But the "gift" has been slammed by cycling campaigners who approached council officers last year to high-light the dangers.

Sylvia Gauthereau, co-ordinator for Brent Cyclists Campaign (BCC), said: "The decision to 'offer' free parking, far from being a gift, is anachronic, toxic, only aimed at people wealthy enough to own a car and it will cost us all dearly. This is certainly an honourable cause but isn't 'local' the key word here? If you are local to your high street, why would you need a car, beyond a specific mobility need? Why would you need to do all your shopping at once? Don't shop owners want people to come back more than once a year?

"Free parking is a disservice to people in Brent. It will simply lead to an increase in demand and induced motor traffic concentrated in areas of high footfall, making our high streets more dangerous, more polluted, more congested, more unpleasant and less appealing."

A Brent Council spokesperson said: "Free parking will continue this year to support shoppers and local businesses over Christmas.

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"We are still working through a council-wide review following the climate emergency declaration.

"As part of this, we are working with residents through our Climate Assembly to examine Brent's carbon emissions and hear a wide range of views about how we should address the threat of climate change.

"Meaningful change needs to be considered carefully and we will be setting out our proposals in February."