ON-STREET parking charges could be reduced for low-emission vehicles in Brighton and Hove.

The idea was put forward by Green councillor Pete West and agreed unanimously by members of the council’s Environment, transport and sustainability committee.

Councillor West said that when people paid by phone their cars were registered on an app which could identify low-emission cars.

He said: “It is cost-neutral and we can encourage people to use low-emission vehicles.

“We already have low-emission discounts for people with residents’ permits but we do not know what visitors or commuters drive.

“They are using pay by phone. This is quick and easy and officers say feasible.”

Councillor West also received backing for his call for more cycle parking in the centre of Brighton.

He told the committee that cycle parking was provided when new developments were built, such as the Sainsbury’s in Hollingbury, but the racks remained empty.

But in the centre of Brighton cyclists were battling to find somewhere to park their bikes and often ended up locking them to street furniture.

Conservative councillor Lee Wares asked for some of the surplus parking money to be used to reduce permit costs for traders, teachers, doctors and carers.

Money left over from parking charges goes towards concessionary bus fares for older people and subsidised bus routes.

There was now £2 million left over once this had been paid for which Councillor Wares said could be used to give carers and teachers a zero fee and half-price permits for traders.

There would, he said, still be £1 million left for other transport-related work.

He said: “We should be looking to give back to those who service our economy and those who care for people.

“To Councillor West’s point, there is even the opportunity to do something even greater to incentivise those people who have already or might switch to low-emission or electric vehicles.”

Officials agreed to look into Councillor Wares suggestions too.

Labour councillor Clare Moonan said that the administration would “make no apology” for the parking surplus as the council moved towards becoming carbon-neutral.

She said: “A key part of that is addressing parking. We want to disincentivise car driving and parking and we want to use whatever means we can in order to do that.

“So any surplus is going to be used very creatively. For example, looking at how we can bring in concessions.”

Councillor Moonan said that support for people on low incomes who needed to use a car for work would be a priority.

She also said that it did not feel right that households with four cars paid the same amount for each permit.

Brighton and Hove City Council’s annual report on parking was approved for publication on the council’s website.