PLANT hire bosses are calling on London councils to cap charges for parking permits for mobile cranes and cherry-pickers.
The appeal follows plans by Westminster City Council to introduce a charge of £250 to park construction plant on public roads during building or maintenance work.
Leaders of the Construction Plant-hire Association are worried the move will have a knock-on effect across the capital.
Association chief executive Colin Wood said: 'The fear is that once one council gets away with a big increase like this then others could follow suit, which will have a detrimental impact on our members.' The association has surveyed London councils and discovered a wide range of charges. Southwark came out with the highest demands at nearly £650, including a deposit. Several allow plant hirers to park their machines for free.
Mr Wood is now writing to every London council asking for them to implement a cap on permit charges.
Mr Wood said: 'There is a broad range of charges at the moment and we are keen to see a £100 cap introduced. Otherwise the price could continue to spiral if councils continue in this random manner seeing plant permits as just another way of raising revenue.' Plant firms are worried that increasing permit charges will drive up hire costs and force contactors to shun mobile platforms and return to more dangerous access methods. The association also surveyed councils over the cost of closing roads for construction work and discovered fees ranging from £300 up to nearly £2,000.
One plant hirer said: 'This survey just shows how arbitrary the whole system is. It seems councils are free to charge what they like.'
Current permit charges Council Charge
Fee for road closure Barnet £115 £1,500 Bexley no £700 Brent no £400 Camden £175 £1,000 City of London £14 £1,630 Hackney £200 £600 Haringey £100 £1,000 Havering £105 + £264 deposit £750 Hounslow £100 £300 Islington £220 with site report £1,900 Lewisham Deposit £1,600 Southwark £123 + £525 deposit £1,525 Tower Hamlets £125 £750 We s tm in s te r £250 £1,530