Plumbers tap eco benefits by getting on their bikes
By Katie Davies WHITE van men are becoming green in Camden, cycling to house jobs in a bid to avoid parking fines. Run-ins with parking wardens have hit plumbers and electricians so badly they have taken to two wheels. Firms including Primrose Plumbers an
By Katie Davies
WHITE van men are becoming green in Camden, cycling to house jobs in a bid to avoid parking fines.
Run-ins with parking wardens have hit plumbers and electricians so badly they have taken to two wheels.
Firms including Primrose Plumbers and NW5 Plumbing, Heating and Drains are now telling staff to saddle up.
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As well as being ticketed for minor infringements, a parking permit to allow workmen to park anywhere in the borough went up 450 per cent this year from £6 to £33. Many workmen have said the increase has pushed them over the edge.
"I could have employed someone just to deal with tickets alone. It's just a joke," said Conan Corrigan, owner of Primrose Plumbers.
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"People ask why we charge £80 for a callout. It's because £30 of that goes on parking. I'd had enough of it, so now we use bikes.
"Obviously if it's a bigger job we have to take the van but if not we take a satchel with everything needed in it and cycle.
"It means we can get there a lot more easily. It's absolutely fantastic for parking problems and you get fit as well."
The change in labourers' permits by Camden Council was brought in this April and has hit traders hard. Residents paying for work also say they have noticed the knock-on price hike.
Gospel Oak resident Mick Farrant said: "It's ridiculous. I am having work done on my home which will take two or three weeks. I am doing it properly so that means three different contractors - a plasterer, a plumber and an electrician. That means around £500 a week, so all together we are looking at £1500.
"There's no way contractors wouldn't pass that on to their customers. So that is a £1500 tax - more than 20 per cent of what it's costing to do up my house.
"I don't know how the council can justify this. This will stop people doing work on their houses which means builders, local builders in particular, will stop getting work."
Camden Council has defended the price hike by saying workmen's permits are no longer specific to a particular area which means, while charges have increased, they will be more cost effective.
"We understand there are cases where the new level of charges may not be suitable for everyone, for example residents who are using a variety of trades people," said a spokeswoman.
"As a result, we are looking at how we might be able to offer some relief. We hope we will be able to announce proposals in the very near future."