§ Sir John Biggs-Davison
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many car parks are still run by the Northern Ireland Department of the Environment; and if he will state reasons in each case why they have not yet been privatised or handed over to district councils.
§ Mr. Needham
There are 302 car parks still run by the Department of the Environment (NI); 228 of these are currently free car parks. Charges are levied in the remaining 74, mainly by the pay and display system. The Department is engaged in a programme of extending pay and display charging and a significant increase in the extension of the charging system needs to take place before an assessment of the cost-effectiveness of privatisation of car parks can be undertaken.
At present there are no plans to hand over car parks to district councils. However, councils will have the opportunity to compete with other interests when offers are invited at a later stage for the privatisation of car parks.