After approval by the council five years ago, new Sunday parking charges will be introduced in the city centre parking zones 1 to 4 from Sunday 11 April.

As well as Sunday afternoon parking restrictions in the city centre, the council is also changing some parking bays so that they become shared use spaces – meaning either a permit holder or pay and display customers can use the same spaces.

To accommodate objections from church groups, the council is bringing in the new controls after 12.30 every Sunday after most church services have finished. But the council says controls are needed as Edinburgh is now a seven-day city, with many shops, restaurants and visitor attractions open all week long.

The new regime will mean that people can no longer park all day for free on Sunday and the spaces will now be available for more people to use. The changes will bring Edinburgh into line with many other UK cities which already charge for Sunday parking, including Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham.

Shared use parking, which is being introduced in Controlled Parking Zones one to eight, increases accessibility to parking spaces for both residents and visitors, allowing for more flexibility.  The council will introduce visitor parking permits to these zones, making it easier for people to visit residents.

Cllr Karen Doran, Transport and Environment Vice Convener, said: “These updated controls are about improving conditions in the city centre, creating a safer environment and tackling inconsiderate parking, as well as providing greater flexibility for residents to park nearer their homes.

“Under normal circumstances, there is no doubt Edinburgh is a seven-day city, and we simply must address this as restrictions begin to be lifted and people return to the centre for shopping and socialising. We want to support businesses to recover from the COVID pandemic and greater parking controls on a Sunday will encourage customer turnover, allow more access for servicing and create a more pleasant atmosphere for everyone.

Calton Hill. Photo: Martin P. McAdam

“The Parking Action Plan was developed with the city’s residents in mind, and measures like shared use parking will provide greater flexibility and the opportunity to park closer to home for many permit-holders. Along with Sunday parking controls, these changes are central to our broader ambitions to manage demand and rethink the way people move around Edinburgh.”

The new controls are being introduced as part of the Parking Action Plan, approved by Transport and Environment Committee in 2016.

The council says the plan is key to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and supports the City Mobility Plan, a ten-year strategy to rethink the way people and goods move in and around the city, reducing the dominance of traffic and creating streets and spaces for people. In 2019-20 the council made £5,898,735.27 from parking tickets issues in the city and just under £4.5 million from income from resident parking permits.

The council is clear that parking initiatives such as this should help reduce car use and congestion, improve safety and air quality and encourage walking, cycling and public transport use. The controls will help people with mobility impairments, both those who rely on public transport (which can be impeded by poor parking) and blue badge holders, who can be impacted by unrestricted parking leading to fewer available spaces. 

Sunday parking restrictions will cover Controlled Parking Zones one to four, incorporating city centre streets like George Street, Castle Terrace and Chambers Street. Shared use parking will also be implemented here, as well as zones five to eight, which includes areas of the city such as Stockbridge, New Town, Newington and Bruntsfield.