The Royal Parks’ draft report into traffic levels revealed that up to 90 per cent of the eight million annual journeys in Richmond Park are made by motorists who use it as a shortcut to a destination outside the park.
We believe a small charge for such trips could go a long way in helping maintain the fabric - as well as the roads - of this special place.
After discussions with park stakeholders, we have decided to promote a clear, sensible idea to improve visitors’ experience of Richmond Park: Intelligent Road Charging.
This is how we believe it could work.
Drivers who have parked to enjoy any activity in Richmond Park would not be charged. Motorists passing through without stopping who enter and leave the park within a set time period would pay a fee.
Details of motor vehicles that use this private road as a shortcut would be logged by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) - a technology which is readily available to authorities these days. If the drivers of these vehicles do not register to pay, there would be a penalty charge.
We believe Intelligent Road Charging will:
Enhance the sense of calm for visitors
Help promote the park as a place for relaxation, recreation and sport, which is part of The Royal Parks’ objectives as a registered charity
Make the roads safer to cross - for pedestrians and deer
Attract more people out of their cars. The draft report into traffic levels shows women, children and disabled riders are put off cycling by traffic and speeding cars. All these groups would be offered a more welcoming environment
Create revenue for the underfunded and overstretched Royal Parks which could partly be invested in maintaining the road surface
Reduce congestion and pollution in the park, complementing its status as a National Nature Reserve
Benefit every user
Displaced traffic - journeys that take place outside the park - is already accommodated when the gates are closed, including morning and evening peak periods in the winter, which shows there is capacity on these roads.
We have had meetings with local politicians over the past year to explore the idea of Intelligent Road Charging. Some councillors whose wards are already affected when the park’s gates are shut from dusk until dawn are understandably concerned about the possible effects of Intelligent Road Charging. We have stressed only motorists using the park as a through route would be targeted and these drivers would not be excluded - they would just pay a toll. Groups such as blue badge holders, park residents and park workers would have dispensation, hence our emphasis on Intelligent Road Charging.
To keep up to date with our ongoing discussions about Intelligent Road Charging and to show your support, please subscribe to our monthly bulletins.