Barnet council is to make permanent a scheme which allows those carrying out religious duties in the borough to park their vehicles within resident parking bays.
The scheme, believed to be the first in Britain, has been trialed by the borough since June 2008 since when 48 permits have been issued.
Costing £40 a year for the first permit with additional second or third permits registered at the same address costing £70, the permits were introduced as part of the council’s core priority to ‘support the vulnerable’, enabling religious and community leaders to access vulnerable residents in their own homes in times of spiritual need.
Council officials say they have drawn up “a rigorous set of criteria” to ensure the scheme complies with equality laws. All applicants must supply a letter of support from their place of worship, together with a brief description of the religious duties being carried out.
Councillor Andrew Harper, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport said: “As the only local authority in the United Kingdom to trial religious parking permits, I am delighted there has been such a positive response. By rolling the scheme out permanently the council aims to ensure those residents in their time of need will be able to obtain the comfort and care they require from their religious and community leaders.”