Changes for drivers and motorcyclists in our local transport plan


What is changing?

To reduce carbon emissions, we aim to encourage a behaviour change by giving the people of Surrey more sustainable travel options to replace petrol and diesel car use. National government action will also be important in reducing emissions, particularly the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2030.

We all need to make greener choices for our journeys and to make that happen, we will be introducing measures that will increase the cost of using high polluting vehicles. We will also be reducing the priority that has been given to cars for years over other means of travel including cycling, walking and public transport.

To achieve our aims, we will review and identify the best options for levelling up the balance between the different travel options through:

Reducing parking availability and increasing charges

We will consider reducing the number of parking spaces in town centres and increase parking charges to put car travel on a more even footing with other more sustainable modes of transport in terms of cost per trip.

We will work with district and borough councils to review parking measures, such as:

Please note: There will be exemptions for Blue Badge owners. Some central parking spaces would be retained for those with accessibility needs. We will ensure that altering parking supply and charges does not affect accessibility for blue badge holders. There will also be mobility credits to help those on low incomes.

We will introduce the above parking measures at the same time as applying other LTP4 policy aims around increasing more sustainable travel options. These will include park and ride, public and shared transport improvements, on-demand transport services, cycle hire schemes and electric vehicle car clubs.

Increasing parking charges will provide the opportunity to give the important message that driving certain types of cars, including larger cars, is more environmentally damaging. This change would need to be combined with widespread access to car clubs including small electric vehicles (EVs), to ensure low cost access to low emissions vehicles for those households on limited incomes (who are more likely to have older, less efficient cars). More information about car clubs can be found in the Promoting Zero Emissions Vehicles policy area.

Introducing parking charges in new areas

This could include:

  • Workplace parking levies: requiring larger organisations to pay a fee for the number of parking spaces provided for their employees or students. If the charge is passed on to employees, it helps to put the cost of workplace parking on an even footing with public car parks. Further information about workplace parking levies can be found on the page for businesses.
  • Local shopping centre charges: these would possibly offer an allowance of a limited number of weekly free visits to encourage people to continue to use local facilities, but to also plan ahead to combine their activities into fewer car trips.
  • Residential parking – increased charges for spaces, particularly second spaces. It will be important to make sure that this does not impact unfairly on lower income households, because it is likely to focus on housing without off street parking. Again, introducing this measure in conjunction with widespread availability of car club vehicles, would help to offset any uneven impacts on different groups of residents.

Tariffs would be set to reflect emissions impacts based on fuel type, vehicle size and ownership (privately owned or car club vehicle).

In residential areas, options would include reducing spaces allocated for private cars in new developments and existing areas that have on-street parking. This could be balanced with increased availability of car club vehicles.

Parking charges could be incorporated within the Mobility as a Service (MaaS) framework (a one-stop transport information system). This would help to make the cost comparison between modes of transport and the difference in charges for car club vehicles more obvious to users when making travel decisions.

The MaaS framework would also provide access to Mobility Credits. Credits could be provided to support access to public and shared transport for groups such as jobseekers and those on low income, to ensure that demand management measures do not limit accessibility and opportunities for any residents. See more about Mobility Credits on the jobseekers and people on a low income page.

Workplace parking levy

Workplace parking levies can be found on the page for businesses.

Traffic calming

We will close some streets, including town centres, to traffic and we will reduce speeds and car priority on other roads to further reduce car use and encourage the use of public transport and active modes of travel (such as cycling and walking) for local trips. Please see the following policy areas to see how we will be using traffic calming to reduce the demand for cars to improve air quality, improve health and increase green spaces: Healthy Streets, in the Planning for Place (20 miles per hour zones) policy area and Active travel and personal mobility policy area.

Engaging with eco levy developments (pay-as-you-drive)

We will also be considering the introduction of an eco levy (or pay-as-you-drive charge). This would further offset the bias towards the car as drivers of petrol and diesel vehicles would need to pay a charge reflecting the environmental damage caused by each kilometre of their journey, rather than the costs being absorbed by wider society as they are currently. We believe charging would be most effective if applied across all roads and would be most successful if applied as a national system. National charging has been raised, particularly in relation to the need to replace fuel duty. Transport for the South East (TfSE) also raised the need for its consideration in their recent Transport Strategy. We will engage with other authorities, TfSE and government to understand and contribute to developments on this issue.

Using charging revenue to support sustainable travel

Any revenue from parking charges or eco levies would provide an important source of revenue to fund the other policy areas set out in the LTP4 (for example, more cycle and walking routes and improved public and shared transport options), strengthening the alternatives to car trips and increasing the benefits of reduced car use for the environment, economy and public health. We will make this link clear as part of our communication to encourage the change away from petrol and diesel vehicles. See our pages for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users to find out what we are doing to make these travel choices more desirable.

Managing our road network

Surrey works with National Highways and neighbouring authorities to share data and coordinate management of the road network at the boundary between the National Highways network and local authority networks. The programme has generated benefits including improved monitoring of the network, improved coordination and operation of signals and response to incidents, reducing delay and improving journey time reliability. New technologies can help to gather and share information on conditions on the road network to enable more effective management.

Technology helping to lower carbon emissions

Technology can actively influence driver behaviour to reduce emissions, such as the Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory (GLOSA) system. This aims to reduce carbon emissions, fuel consumption, and travel times by avoiding unnecessary stopping at junctions. Approaching vehicles are given speed recommendations based on current and future traffic light signal phase timings.

Why we are doing this and our timetable for change

Why we are doing this

Prioritising the convenience of car use has had negative impacts for Surrey in terms of carbon emissions, local air quality, quality of public spaces, physical fitness and equality of access to opportunities, services and facilities for those without a car. Our transport changes are designed to give more priority to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport to improve air quality and health, increase the number of green spaces and and leisure facilities, and to ensure everyone has equal access to services and opportunities.

Reducing the amount of parking available and relocating it to less-central locations would build on some of the principles of our successful park and ride policy in Guildford. It would free up significant areas in our urban centres for more varied and attractive uses that are accessible to all, such as parks and leisure facilities.

We will be promoting electric vehicle car clubs to give people a cost-saving alternative to car ownership. Car clubs will offer a range of vehicle sizes meaning the appropriate sized car can be used for a journey based on number of passengers, amount of luggage or shopping, or the purpose of the trip. This contrasts with privately owned cars, as people typically own large vehicles that are only needed for occasional requirements (such as holidays) and drive them daily, therefore unnecessarily increasing emissions and energy use for each journey.

Will there be a negative impact on shops and shopping?

Concerns are often raised that reducing parking provision and increasing its cost will have negative economic impacts for town centres and other retail areas, but evidence suggests that this does not occur in practice. Research by organisations such as Transport for London and Living Streets indicates that traffic-free, pedestrianised environments are more attractive to visitors; and that those visiting a town centre by travel options other than a car are likely to spend more in a month, as they will visit the centre more often and are more likely to make additional unplanned stops whilst passing.

Timetable for change

We will add schemes to our timetable below as they are agreed and implemented.

What we are doing now

2022 to 2030

We will offer consultation as we propose changes, giving you the chance to comment and shape Surrey's greener future.

2030 to 2050

Our future aims will be far reaching and will aim to transform transport in Surrey.

Changes you can make

We encourage everyone to consider the following:

  • avoid using cars for short journeys, instead cycle or walk which has additional health benefits
  • reduce your kilometres to reduce your carbon emissions
  • switch to electric vehicles
  • use car clubs instead of owning a car
  • use public or shared transport.

Related links

Policy areas

Subscribe to our newsletters for latest news and events.