Motorists in Nottingham will be charged £250 a year to park at work from 2012, as part of a workplace levy which has been endorsed by the government.
The move has sparked anger, but the government's backing is being interpreted as a sign that it is a policy that will be implemented nationwide.
Milton Keynes, Exeter, Cambridge, Oxford have all expressed interest in the project already, while it has also been identified as a "congestion-busting" strategy by the Core Cites Group, which represents Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield. In Nottingham, the charge will be levied on employers with 11 or more parking spaces, but they are free to pass the cost on to their staff. The initial charge of £250 a year will be raised to £350 a year from 2013.
Nottingham believes that the levy will raise £100 million over the next decade, just under a fifth of the cost of a new urban tram scheme it wants to build.
However, the British Chambers of Commerce has warned that it could cost companies £3.4 billion a year if every English council followed Nottingham's example.
"Nottingham City Council's decision to impose a Workplace Parking Levy is still a blow to the local business community," said David Frost, the Chamber's Director General.