Defra concedes defeat in battle over contractor parking habits

Local residents in Guildford have won their battle to stop IBM contractors working for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) parking in residential roads.

The problem started a year ago, after Defra signed a 10-year 850m IT outsourcing deal with IBM.

Guildford residents made repeated complaints to Defra that they were unable to park in their own roads because IBM contractors were parking there. After the complaints were ignored, Guildford MP Anne Milton took up the cause in parliament to try to force Defra to take action.

As a result, the department has made official representations to IBM to stop the contractors parking on local roads.

In a written Hansard response, Defra minister Jim Knight said: “When Guildford site security report that there are potentially vehicles parked off-site, Defra [is] carrying out patrols in the local roads to try to identify vehicles which belong to IBM or Defra employees.

Drivers or their line managers are then contacted and asked to move their vehicles, even though these may be parked legally.”

Defra has met with Guildford Borough Council and Surrey County Council to see if it would be possible to join Surrey’s car-share scheme. The department is also negotiating with a local bus company to try to identify a park-and-ride site.

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