Drivers in Brighton could have to pay parking charges based on their vehicle's emissions.

The move, affecting both on and off street parking, is among a raft of short, medium and long term proposals that will be discussed by Brighton and Hove city councillors on Tuesday.

It comes after Councillor Trevor Muten, chairman of the transport and sustainability committee, said in July that the council had no plans to introduce an ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) in Brighton and Hove.

He said then: “The Labour administration is not pursuing a car-free city because it would be a catastrophe for our disabled residents, tradespeople and others who need to use cars to live with dignity and earn a living."

Members of the transport and sustainability committee will be presented with The Parking Review Update report, which details the work that has been done since the summer and outlines measures being taken to reduce the parking income deficit in 2023/24.

The report also proposes several measures for the 2024/25 financial year, including investigating a physical permit option for those with limited access to digital payment options, a restructure of parking services, a new anti-fraud strategy to tackle permit, blue badge and concessionary travel fraud and reviews of parking permits (including pricing and criteria) to simplifying several outer parking zones.

In the longer term, proposals include establishing “simpler” citywide parking into central and outer parking zones, considering emissions-based charging for on-street and off-street paid parking, virtual visitor parking permits, a review of off-street car parks to ensure they are protected and a valuable council asset, and the continued rollout of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Committee members will be told that consultants have begun work on a full parking review to be carried out alongside these measures.

They are due to report back with more detail to be presented to the committee in February 2024 and  decisions made by May 2024 with the proposed simplification implemented expected from early next summer.


And councillors will be presented with a report recommending several technical updates to council parking policies.

These updates aim to improve services to residents, businesses and visitors. They would also formalise new policies for the council’s barrier-controlled car parks, parking bay suspensions and penalty charge notice debt policies.

Cllr Muten said: “Simplified and equitable parking is essential for the prosperity of our city. An integrated parking approach with public transport provision helps the council provide thousands of concessionary bus passes, bus routes and other vital transport projects and services.

“I’m pleased that we’ll be discussing cheaper parking for Christmas shoppers and exploring options  for physical parking permits for those with limited access to smartphones and other digital technology.

“We must think long term to ensure the parking space we have is used efficiently, keeps our city moving but remains affordable for our residents, businesses and visitors.

“Developing our new parking strategy is also a high priority given that the money we receive from government is being cut year on year. In these challenging economic times, the changes we’re already making and the wider review will give us the resources and information we need to better plan for the future."

When pressed by The Argus about the scheme to base parking charges on a vehicle's emissions, Cllr Muten said: “Like many other councils across the country, we already have emission categories for residents' parking permits.

“As part of our ongoing review of parking, we are considering aligning our visitor parking with our existing residents parking approach.

“As with resident parking, we’re currently considering a scale of charges for drivers based on their vehicles’ impact on our city’s air quality being categorised as low, medium or high emissions.

“This would apply to on-street parking in pay and display areas as well as off-street car parks.

“An ultra-low emissions zone (ULEZ) such as operates in London is completely different. This charges vehicles simply for entering a particular area of the city.

“We have no intention of introducing a London style ULEZ in Brighton and Hove.

“The ultra-low emissions zone we do have in the city centre only applies to buses and has been introduced with the full co-operation of the bus companies.

“We have a responsibility to introduce measures to actively help improve air quality and combat climate change, and we are determined to do so.”