Workplace Parking Licensing - Consultation on Regulations and Guidance

About this consultation

The Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 introduced a discretionary power for local authorities to implement WPL schemes. The Act provides the legislative framework for WPL and confers powers on Scottish Ministers to make regulations in relation to certain elements. This consultation provides an opportunity for stakeholders and the general public to offer their views on the key aspects of WPL regulations and guidance that will derive from the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019.

This consultation on Workplace Parking Licensing (WPL) Scheme regulations and guidance gives us an opportunity to seek your opinions on the regulatory framework and supporting guidance which will underpin local authorities’ WPL schemes, should they choose to implement WPL.

This consultation is not about the design or implementation of any individual town or city-specific WPL scheme. Local authorities will be required to undertake a consultation on their local schemes.

Respond to the consultation online

We are inviting responses to this consultation by 6 September 2021.

Please respond to this consultation using the Scottish Government’s consultation hub, Citizen Space.

You can save and return to your responses while the consultation is still open. Please ensure that consultation responses are submitted before the closing date of 6 September 2021.

If you are unable to respond using our consultation hub, please complete the Respondent Information Form and return to:

  • Email:
  • Post: WPL, Transport Strategy & Analysis Directorate, Transport Scotland, Buchanan House, 4th Floor, 58 Port Dundas Road, Glasgow, G4 0HF

Handling your response

If you respond using the consultation hub, you will be directed to the 'About You' page before submitting your response. Please indicate how you wish your response to be handled and, in particular, whether you are content for your response to published. If you ask for your response not to be published, we will regard it as confidential, and we will treat it accordingly.

All respondents should be aware that the Scottish Government is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and would therefore have to consider any request made to it under the Act for information relating to responses made to this consultation exercise.

If you are unable to respond via Citizen Space, please complete and return the Respondent Information Form included in this document.

To find out how we handle your personal data, please see our privacy policy.

Next steps in the process

Where respondents have given permission for their response to be made public, and after we have checked that they contain no potentially defamatory material, responses will be made available to the public on Citizen Space. If you use the consultation hub to respond, you will receive a copy of your response via email.

Following the closing date, all responses will be analysed and considered along with any other available evidence to help us prepare the WPL regulations and guidance. Responses will be published where we have been given permission to do so. An analysis report will also be made available.

Comments and complaints

If you have any comments about how this consultation exercise has been conducted, please send them to the contact address above or email your comments to

Scottish Government consultation process

Consultation is an essential part of the policymaking process. It gives us the opportunity to consider your opinion and expertise on a proposed area of work.

You can find all our consultations online. Each consultation details the issues under consideration, as well as a way for you to give us your views, either online, or by email or post.

Responses will be analysed and used as part of the decision making process, along with a range of other available information and evidence. We will publish a report of this analysis for every consultation. Depending on the nature of the consultation exercise the responses received may:

  • indicate the need for policy development or review
  • inform the development of a particular policy
  • help decisions to be made between alternative policy proposals
  • be used to finalise legislation before it is implemented

While details of particular circumstances described in a response to a consultation exercise may usefully inform the policy process, consultation exercises cannot address individual concerns and comments, which should be directed to the relevant public body.

Workplace Parking Licensing Regulations: Our Proposal

The Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 includes provisions introducing a discretionary power for local authorities to set up workplace parking licensing (WPL) schemes. It will be for local authorities to decide whether they wish to use that power and, if so, to shape proposals to suit local circumstances.

Supporting regulations and guidance will be necessary to provide national consistency on key elements of the scheme but as much as possible it is intended to provide flexibility for local authorities to reflect the objectives set out in their local transport strategy.

Where a WPL scheme is in place, liable employers will be required to obtain a licence from the local authority for each workplace parking place provided for use by employees and certain visitors such as workers, agents, suppliers, business customers and business visitors. Parking places occupied by someone attending a course of education or training and parking places occupied by members of bodies whose affairs are controlled by its members may also require to be licensed under WPL. A charge will be levied for such a licence on the basis of the number of parking places specified in the licence. Obtaining a WPL licence and paying any levies will be the responsibility of the occupier of the premises, i.e. the employer, business, or organisation, except in certain circumstances.

Parking places used by non-business customers would not be liable for the charge: for example, customer parking places at a supermarket or shopping centre would not need to be licenced. Individual employees or business visitors would not be liable for the licence or charge. However, there is nothing to stop individual employers from charging employees or visitors a fee to park on their premises.

The Transport (Scotland) Act provides for certain national exemptions from any charge, although these workplace parking places may still be required to be licenced. These exemptions include parking places reserved for Blue Badge holders, certain parking places at qualifying NHS premises, and parking places at hospices.

The intention of the Scottish Government is for local authorities to be empowered to create WPL schemes that reflect their local circumstances. Local authorities could design WPL schemes that only apply to certain parts of the local authority boundary or at certain times of day. Local authorities will have discretion to make local exemptions that support their local objectives and circumstances (beyond the fixed national exemptions), but they are not required to. These exemptions could be on the basis of premises with a specified number of parking places (or fewer), parking places used by certain types of vehicles or for specified uses, or specific types of premises. Two or more local authorities can choose to jointly implement a WPL scheme.

Local authorities can use WPL revenues only to cover the costs of the scheme and to support the policies in their local transport strategy.

Objectives of the Scheme

As a measure addressing demand management of travel, progressing the delivery of the WPL regulations and guidance supports existing Scottish Government policy commitments. WPL has the potential to encourage the use of more sustainable travel modes, reducing congestion and tackling climate/air emissions. As the net revenue generated by WPL schemes must be committed to support policies in local transport strategies, this policy is also intended to raise revenue that could be used to improve public or active transport, making it more attractive and thus encouraging individuals to use public transport instead of driving.

Providing local authorities with discretionary powers to implement a WPL scheme supports the vision and priorities set out in the National Transport Strategy (NTS2). These powers provide a tool for local authorities to influence travel behaviour in a way that discourages private car use and encourages use of public and sustainable transport. The NTS2 Delivery Plan 2020-2022 commits to taking forward supporting regulations and guidance so that local authorities can choose to implement WPL schemes.

Implementing regulations and guidance so that local authorities can move forward with WPL schemes also progresses Scotland’s commitment to reach net-zero by 2045. The Climate Change Plan update (CCPu) was laid in Parliament in December 2020. As part of our commitment to reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030, the CCPu committed to take forward policy consultation in advance of drafting regulations and guidance to enable local authorities to implement WPL schemes that suit their local requirements.

WPL regulations support our National Performance Framework outcomes: ‘value, enjoy, protect and enhance their environment’; and ‘live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe.’

Creating a new scheme

A WPL scheme may only be made if the local authority has a local transport strategy and if it appears to the authority that the scheme will promote the objectives of that strategy. Before implementing or amending a WPL scheme, there are a number of steps that local authorities must take.

Consultation and Impact Assessment

Before implementing a WPL scheme, local authorities must complete a consultation. Ministers may make regulations on the consultation process including publication of proposals. In that consultation local authorities must publish:

  • An outline of the scheme they are proposing to make, amend, or revoke. The outline has to include details such as licensing area; how long the scheme will remain in force; the charge per workplace parking place; arrangements for the periodic review of the operation and effectiveness of the scheme; and a description of any exemptions, including national exemptions and any further exemptions that the local authority chooses to apply.
  • A statement about the objectives of the proposal, i.e. what the local authority seeks to achieve through the licensing scheme and the local authority’s assessment of how the proposal will achieve those objectives and facilitate the achievement of policies in the local transport strategy. It should also set out how the local authority will apply the proceeds of the scheme once administration costs are met.
  • An assessment of the impacts of the proposal on those who will have to pay charges as a result of the scheme and the impact on the environment.

Question 1

Are there other elements of WPL schemes that local authorities should be required to consult on, besides those listed under the 'Consultation and Impact Assessment' section?

  • Yes
  • No

Please explain your answer, including, if appropriate, what additional elements should be required and why:


The local authority is required to consult such persons as they consider appropriate in relation to the proposal, including, in particular, those who are likely to be affected by the proposal. Regulations may specify statutory consultees: a statutory consultee is an organisation or body which the local authority is legally required to consult.

Question 2

Should the regulations specify a list of statutory consultees that local authorities are required to consult?

  • Yes
  • No

Please explain your answer. If yes, please detail what statutory consultees and why:

Implementing the Scheme

Following the consultation, the local authority must publish a report summarising consultation responses, stating whether the local authority will proceed with the proposal (or any modified proposal) and sets out the local authority’s reasons for whether or not it intends to proceed. Regulations may set out requirements for publication of this report.

Under the Transport (Scotland) Act, a “stand still period” of eight weeks will begin when the consultation report is published, and during that time the local authority cannot put their proposal in place. This provides time for the local authority and the Scottish Ministers to consider the local authority’s decision on whether or not to proceed with the scheme and the public to be aware of the report.

The local authority or Scottish Ministers may appoint an examiner to carry out an examination of, and prepare a report on, the proposal or any aspect of it. Regulations will make further provision on the examination process, such as designating the Department for Planning and Environmental Appeals to undertake examinations and specifying the process around the examination. Under the Transport (Scotland) Act, where an examination is to be carried out, the local authority may not proceed with the proposal until the examination has been completed.

Following the “stand still period,” or, where applicable, the examination is complete, local authorities may proceed with the decision to make, amend, or revoke a WPL scheme. Local authorities will be required to publish notices on the scheme and its effects so that liable employers are aware of their responsibilities. Regulations made under the 2019 Act may make provision about the publication of such notices, and are intended to add clarity for local authorities in order to reduce procedural challenges.

Question 3

When local authorities communicate information about new, amended, or revoked WPL schemes, what information should the notices contain? Please support your view with evidence where possible.

Question 4

When local authorities communicate information about new, amended, or revoked WPL schemes, where/how should notices be published? Please support your view with evidence where possible.

Form of a Scheme

Local authorities will be able to design schemes that support the objectives of their local transport strategy. For example, WPL schemes can be designed to only apply to certain parts of the local authority boundary or only apply on certain days or at certain times of day.

Local authorities will have discretion to make local exemptions that support their local objectives and circumstances (beyond the fixed national exemptions), but are not required to do so. For example, a local authority could exempt premises with a specified number of parking places (or fewer), parking places used by certain types of vehicles or for specified uses, or specific types of premises. This gives flexibility to apply the scheme in a way that is sensitive to local circumstances.

Responsibility for Licence

Under the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019, the occupier of the premises providing the parking places will be responsible for acquiring and paying for the licence. There may however be circumstances where it would be appropriate to levy WPL charges against employers who provide workplace parking at premises, but who do not occupy those premises. For example, an employer may have entered arrangements with another person such as a car park provider or neighbouring premises to provide parking for their employees. These parking places would still be liable for WPL under the Act even though they are not the occupier’s own employees.

WPL cannot be charged directly to individual employees, and it is a matter for the occupier of premises if (and how) they recover the charge from employees or any other person. Non-business customer parking is not liable for WPL; for example, non-business customer parking (such as a place occupied by a supermarket customer) would not be covered under WPL.

Further regulations may specify persons other than the occupier to be liable for the charge in specified circumstances. For example, it may be appropriate that in circumstances where the occupier of any premises has entered into arrangements with an employer for the provision of parking places, the employer would be liable for WPL charges rather than the occupier, as long as satisfactory evidence of this arrangement is provided by the occupier.

Question 5

Are there any circumstances where an employer besides the occupier of the premises should be responsible for the charges imposed through a WPL scheme?

  • Yes
  • No

Please explain your answer. If yes, please describe the circumstances and entities who should be liable, supporting your view with evidence where possible.

Reviews and Appeals of Licensing Decisions

A WPL scheme may include provision for or in connection with: dealing with applications; granting, issuing and renewing licences; imposing conditions on a licence; the standard duration of a licence; how a licence may be varied or revoked and suspending the requirement to hold a licence for a period and reimbursement of charges for that period. It may also make provision for short-term licenses, which may not be granted or extended for a period longer than 12 months.

In certain cases it may be appropriate for an employer to seek a review of a licensing decision made by the local authority. Regulations will set out that following any review process the local authority may implement, the local authority must issue a written decision to allow the decision or conditions to be appealed. Following the local authority review, regulations will set out a right of appeal to the sheriff.

Question 6

Should the rationale and process for a local authority’s review of licensing decisions be wholly set out by the local authority? 

  • Yes
  • No

Please explain your answer.

Question 7

What circumstances/rationale do you consider reasonable for review or appeal of licensing decisions to take place?


The Transport (Scotland) Act provides powers for local authorities to support enforcement of WPL schemes. An authorised person may enter premises within the WPL licensing area and require the production of information relating to WPL. If necessary, a sheriff may issue a warrant to allow local authorities to exercise these powers. These powers may only be used in establishing whether parking places are being provided either without a licence or without a licence in respect of all liable parking places; establishing whether there is any contravention of the conditions of a licence; or serving a penalty charge notice in relation to the WPL scheme. Failure to comply with or obstructing an authorised person constitutes an offence.

Further details on enforcement of WPL schemes will be laid out in regulations, including details around penalty charges. Regulations will specify devices (such as cameras) which may be used to gather evidence relevant to WPL.

Penalty Charges

We intend that regulations will specify a process around penalty charges, including provision for review and appeal of charges. Penalty charges may be imposed when an employer has failed to apply or pay for a licence or has failed to licence an adequate number of places. In line with similar penalty charges, we anticipate that payment would be required within 28 days and could be paid in a variety of methods such as online or over the phone.

The penalty charge notice (PCN) would include:

  • The person liable to pay the penalty charge
  • The amount of the penalty charge
  • The reason(s) why the local authority believe the penalty is payable, including the licensing period to which it relates and a description of the premises to which it relates
  • When the penalty must be paid by
  • How to pay the penalty (ie by post, online)
  • If applicable, a reduction in the penalty charge if it's paid within a certain period of time, or an increase in the penalty charge if no appeal is filed or the charge is not paid within a certain period of time
  • Information on appealing the penalty charge
  • Consequence for non-payment

It may be appropriate to seek a review of the penalty charge notice by the local authority within the payment period, for example on the grounds that:

  • The parking places were not liable for WPL
  • The present occupier was not the occupier when the contravention occurred
  • The occupier has satisfactory evidence demonstrating arrangements with another person for the provision of parking places, where the other person may be liable for WPL charges rather than the occupier
  • The number of parking places on which the penalty charge is based is incorrect

Where a local authority accepts that at least one of the grounds for review noted above has been met, the local authority must cancel the PCN, and serve a notice on the recipient stating that the PCN has been cancelled. Where it has not been satisfied that any of these grounds have been established, a notice of rejection must be served. If the review is rejected by the relevant local authority, the recipient may appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal, on the same grounds as those for a review, with the appeal process either dismissing or allowing the appeal.

Question 8

Do you agree with the approach to penalty charges as outlined under the ‘Penalty Charges’ section above?

  • Yes
  • No

Please explain your answer, supporting your view with evidence where possible.

Question 9

Do you consider that there should be additional grounds for review or appeal of penalty charges besides those listed under the 'Penalty Charges' section above?

  • Yes
  • No

Please explain your answer, supporting your view with evidence where possible.

Amount of the Penalty Charge

The amount of the penalty charge would not be set in regulations, as the penalty should be proportionate to the WPL charge set by local authorities. With that being said, there are two possible approaches to the amount of the penalty charge. Regulations could set a national formula for the penalty charge, based on the WPL charge set by the local authority. For example, the penalty charge could be half of the annual WPL charge per day of contravention, per parking place, with a minimum penalty charge and a reduction for payment within a certain period of time. Alternatively, the amount of the penalty charge could be left entirely to local authorities to establish and consult on as part of the form of their local scheme.

Question 10

Which approach to the amount of the penalty charge do you consider more appropriate?

  • A formula for the penalty charge, including a reduction in payment for payment within a certain timeframe or increase in response to delayed payment, should be set in regulations
  • The amount of the penalty charge be determined entirely by local authorities

Please explain your answer, including what formula you consider appropriate, supporting your view with evidence where possible.


Regulations may specify the form and content of accounts for revenue from WPL schemes, require their publication and specify the manner in which they must be published, or make provision for how accounts are to be prepared and kept in relation to joint schemes. We intend that regulations shall state accounts should be kept and published in line with proper accounting practices. Regulations will also state that in the case of joint WPL schemes by two or more local authorities, accounts should demonstrate each local authority’s costs and how revenue is apportioned.

Question 11

Do you agree with the approach outlined under 'Accounts'?

  • Yes
  • No

Question 12

Do think further regulation on accounts is required?

  • Yes
  • No

Do think further regulation on accounts is required?

Assessing Impact

As a matter of practice, the Scottish Government are committed to assessing the impact of WPL regulations and guidance. This consultation will contribute into the process of assessing the equalities, business and regulatory, and environmental impact of WPL regulations and guidance proposals. Impact assessments on the form of local WPL schemes will be undertaken by local authorities as outlined above.

The impact assessments cover the following:

  • Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) including the Fairer Scotland Duty
  • Child Rights and Well Being
  • Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA)
  • Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA)
  • Environmental impact
  • Island Communities Impact Assessment (ICIA)

We will take a robust evidence based approach to the development of our impact assessments and will work in close consultation with key stakeholders and representatives of particular groups that are likely to be impacted.

Equality impact assessment and Fairer Scotland duty

In creating a consistent approach to WPL in Scotland, the public sector equality duty requires the Scottish Government to pay due regard to the need to the following:

  • Eliminate discrimination, victimisation, harassment or other unlawful conduct that is prohibited under the Equality Act 2010,
  • Advance equality opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not, and
  • Foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic.

These three requirements apply across the ‘protected characteristics’ of:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion and belief
  • sex and sexual orientation

The Scottish Government must also include consideration of:

  • children and young people (Child Rights and Wellbeing)
  • socioeconomic disadvantage, low wealth, and area deprivation (Fairer Scotland Duty)

Parking places for Blue Badge holders are exempt from charge. This means that a local authority can require the place to be licensed, including being counted towards any minimum place threshold for a licence, but cannot levy a charge on these parking places.

The Scottish Government will consider the responses from the consultation process in determining any actions needed to meet its statutory obligations. Your comments will be considered in a full Equality Impact Assessment to determine whether any further work in this area is needed.

Question 13

What positive or negative impacts do you think the WPL proposals outlined within this consultation may have on:

  • particular groups of people, with particular reference to ‘protected characteristics’ listed above
  • children and young people
  • people facing socioeconomic disadvantages
  • people living in island communities

Business and Regulation

A Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) should analyse whether a policy (or in this case regulations and guidance) is likely to increase or reduce the costs and burdens placed on businesses, the public sector and voluntary and community organisations. A partial BRIA has been prepared and is available for review on the Transport Scotland website. Your comments to this consultation will help inform a final BRIA of WPL regulations and guidance proposals.

Question 14

Do you think the WPL proposals outlined within this consultation are likely to increase, reduce or maintain the costs and burdens placed on business sectors? Please be as specific as possible in your reasoning.

Data Protection Impact Assessment

Under the General Data Protection Regulation, the Scottish Government must complete a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) for all projects involving personal data and privacy. A full DPIA will be conducted to ascertain whether our proposals may have an impact on the privacy of individuals.

Question 15

What impacts do you think the proposals outlined in this consultation may have on the personal data and privacy of individuals?


The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 ensures those public proposals that are likely to have a significant impact on the environment are assessed and measures to prevent or reduce adverse effects are sought, where possible, prior to implementation.

Question 16

Do you think the WPL proposals outlined in this consultation are like to have an impact on the environment? If so, in what way? Please be as specific as possible in your reasoning.

Question 17

Do you have any other comments that you would like to add on the Scottish Government’s WPL proposals outlined within this consultation?

Published Date 11 Jun 2021 Topic Status