- Tuesday 15 February 2005

4WDs parks to cost double: council

A SYDNEY council's plan to double residential parking fees for four wheel drive owners was today welcomed by a peak pedestrian body.

North Sydney Council last night voted to introduce a sliding scale for parking permits which will double fees paid by drivers of large 4WDs - including Jeep Grand Cherokees and Mitsubishi Pajeros and large eight cylinder cars from $44 to $88.

And if the family owns a second 4WD, it will have to pay the council $200.

Owners of smaller, more economical vehicles will be paying less under the plan, to be implemented within six months.

The amount paid by owners of six cylinder vehicles will remain unchanged.

The Pedestrian Council of Australia today welcomed the plan, saying it was a victory for other drivers and the environment.

"North Sydney Council is to be congratulated for considering placing higher residential parking fees on gas-guzzling 4WD behemoths," chairman Harold Scruby said.

"If you want to drive them off-road, go and live in the country, or have one in the country. These have no place in an urban environment."

The scheme is based on fuel consumption and overall impact of the vehicle on the North Sydney area.

"The council is not targeting 4WDs, the purpose of the policy is to reward low impact cars. It's all about fuel consumption (and) the greenhouse rating of the vehicle," North Sydney Mayor Genia McCaffery said.

"I would say that very few of the very large 4WDs are ever driven anywhere else but the city and you only have to look at the vehicles - they're not driven off-road."

Mr Scruby said many people chose 4WDs because of the favourable five per cent tariffs, as opposed to 10 per cent for ordinary cars.

The 4WDs also needed a lot of room to park, were responsible for about 75 per cent of child driveway deaths and more likely to roll than any other vehicle, he said.

Pedestrians struck by a 4WD were more than twice as likely to die as those hit by an ordinary car travelling at the same speed, he said.

"I'd like to see councils adopt this idea because it's actually rather fair when you think about how much space these things take up on a road," he said.

The Pedestrian Council of Australia will today propose all councils ban anything over two tonnes - including Toyota Land Cruisers, Nissan Patrols and Jeep Cherokees from council carparks.

Melbourne councils are not believed to be contemplating any similar levy on 4WDs.

Victorian Local Governance Association chief executive Andrew Rowe said he did not know of any council considering such a move.

Spokeswomen for affluent inner-city councils Stonnington and Port Phillip said neither council had plans to increase fees for 4WD owners.
© This work is copyright and is reproduced under licence from News Limited