Digital transformation for UK councils leads to cleaner air

Posted on: 24/02/2020

Established in 2001, PayByPhone is one of the world’s fastest growing mobile parking payments providers, helping more than 29 million registered users across all age groups and demographics pay for parking easily and securely without the nuisance of waiting in line, having to carry change or risking fines.

In the UK, PayByPhone’s transactions increased by 147% on last year. The company’s rapidly expanding client-base includes NHS hospitals and partnerships with NCP and Transport for London (TfL). Local authorities are also taking notice; on average, every month of 2019 a new local authority signed up to PayByPhone’s service.

These councils are looking for the best solution for motorists as part of their digital transformation journey, and PayByPhone’s app, which has been developed with a user-first ethos, helps to make the transition from traditional parking machines to cashless payments as smooth as possible. Cashless parking payment technology is easy to install on the back-end for local authorities and supports them in their efforts to reduce crime and to improve air quality in their boroughs. Councils also receive data and insights into the usage of the parking in their estate.

Technology for crime and pollution reduction

Budget cuts, environmental concerns and crime against parking machines are some of the challenges facing many UK councils today. As a partner to local authorities, PayByPhone has identified a way for its payment technology to alleviate these issues.

PayByPhone’s Meters for Trees is the first carbon reduction programme of its kind and was created by UK CEO Jonny Combe and his management team. Councils who sign up for the programme agree to reduce the number of parking meters over a period of time in favour of PayByPhone’s cashless system. For every ten parking machines that exist in a participating borough, PayByPhone commits to offset roughly one tonne of carbon dioxide by donating one tree to the council and saving one tonne of carbon dioxide through the Portel-Pará REDD project, a Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) audited project in the Amazon rainforest that combats deforestation.

Meters for Trees is open to all UK councils that use PayByPhone’s service and offers a concrete way for local authorities to reduce their carbon emissions, to save money and to reduce crime. The removal of parking machines means that enforcement vehicles don’t have to travel thousands of miles every year to collect cash and to maintain meters, reducing carbon emissions in the borough and improving the air quality for people who live and work there. It also means that criminals can no longer vandalise and steal cash from parking machines.

Successful roll-out 

Kensington and Chelsea Council in London was the first local authority to enrol in PayByPhone’s ground-breaking initiative, Meters for Trees. Since signing up in June 2019, the council is in the process of removing 700 machines, offsetting 70 tonnes of carbon, and eliminating theft from and vandalism of parking machines, which was costing the council over £120,000 per year. The removal of the parking machines also means that tail pipe emissions from enforcement vehicles, which previously were driving 23,000 miles per year, are no longer contributing to pollution in the borough.

In short, Kensington and Chelsea’s digital transformation journey towards cashless parking payments means that technology is replacing the need for enforcement vehicles on the road and eliminating the opportunity for crime against parking meters.

What’s next

The focus on sustainability and environmental responsibility is likely to intensify over the coming years. This is why it is essential for local authorities to choose the right partner, such as PayByPhone, who can work within the council’s budgetary and time constraints and provide innovative solutions that are quick to implement. As a partner to local authorities, these companies must lead the way and develop innovative long-term programmes that can help the public sector to reduce costs, to meet their environmental goals and to improve their green credentials.

By placing the environment squarely in focus, businesses who work with the public sector on digital transformation can ensure that they improve not only people’s experiences but also air quality and the environment.



PayByPhone, a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen Financial Services AG, is one of the fastest growing mobile payments companies in the world, processing more than £300 million in payments annually. Through the company’s mobile web, smartphone and smartwatch applications, PayByPhone helps millions of consumers easily and securely pay for parking without the hassles of waiting in line, having to carry change or risking costly fines. Registration is quick and easy, and the app reminds the user when their parking is about to expire, allowing them to top up from anywhere, at any time. In a commitment to the environment, PayByPhone became Carbon Neutral certified in the UK in 2019.



Anthony Cashel                                                       Chantal Bachelier-Moore

Marketing Manager, PayByPhone UK              PR Consultant, DAPR                         

(+44) 7384 259955                                                    (+44) 207 692 4964