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National Archives

Volume 496: debated on Thursday 16 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how much the National Archives expects to raise through the introduction of car parking charges at Kew; (287175)

(2) how many people visited the National Archives at Kew in each of the last five years.

To date The National Archives has provided free parking for visitors to Kew. This has in effect been subsidised from their running costs budget. They are no longer in a position to continue this subsidy. In addition, in the context of the Government’s green agenda, it is increasingly hard to justify the use of public funds in this way. They have therefore proposed the introduction of a fee to use their visitors’ car park. The organisation is in the process of assessing the full extent of the car park running costs, and it is their intention that the income from the fee enables them to fully recover the costs. They are consulting with users, to gather their views on the level and structure of the charge. They will continue to provide free parking for holders of ‘blue badges’.

The following figures set out the number of unique visitors to the National Archives at Kew in each of the last five years:

Number of visitors

2004-05

103,257

2005-06

108,269

2006-07

110,323

2007-08

192,855

2008-09

108,100

1 Between October 2007 and April 2008 there was a reduced service at Kew to allow for the refurbishment of their public services.

Over the course of these years, the number of original documents delivered on site has averaged 600,000 per year. At the same time, there has been a significant increase in the number of documents delivered online which, by the end of March 2009, had reached over 110 million.