Scotland's biggest council is lobbying the Scottish Executive for a massive expansion in the use of car-parking charges that will allow it to ensure every private car journey incurs a fee.

Glasgow City Council wants to increase dramatically the power local authorities have over parking fees, to cover workplaces, entertainment venues and out-of-town shopping centres, in a bid to reduce congestion and emissions.

But motorists' representatives said the proposals would prove deeply unpopular if applied to shopping centres such as Braehead, in Renfrewshire, where motorists expect to park for free, and to work places.

Workplaces and shopping centres fall outside council responsibility for parking charges but staff and shoppers could face levies under the controversial proposals.

The council says its latest local transport strategy is the most effective means of persuading motorists to cycle, walk or take public transport.

At present, councils are responsible only for roadside parking. Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aber-deen have all increased the number and scope of parking meters as traffic levels have increased and spaces become more scarce.

However, Glasgow wants to go much further and create a "level playing field", where parking fees would apply to shopping centres, workplaces, leisure and entertainment venues and health and educational facilities.

Residential parking spaces would be exempt but motorists travelling to residential areas where they do not live could still expect to incur a charge.

Council leaders are lobbying the executive to introduce primary legislation to give them greater power over parking fees, which they see as fairer, cheaper and more palatable than road pricing.

Ruth Simpson, executive member for land and the environment at the city council, said busi- nesses had proved reluctant to subsidise cycle purchase or public transport, as suggested by much travel planning. But she added: "They might be more willing to levy a charge for the use of their parking facilities, particularly if all competing undertakings were doing likewise.

"Legislation is considered necessary to ensure such measures are uniformly adopted across the country - creating the so-called level playing field'. The result could be a significant switch away from the use of private cars, reducing congestion, emissions and global warming."

A council spokeswoman added that the charges would cover all destinations, including shopping centres such as Braehead.

This provoked a cordial response from Peter Beagley, general manager at Braehead, who said the shopping centre had already encouraged a considerable number of people to travel there by bus.

The centre's bus station now saw 1000 arrivals and departures every day and a river taxi to Glasgow city centre had been introduced, as well as a river walkway and cyclepath, he said.

"We understand the reasons behind local and national governments wishing to address the issue of the number of private cars on our roads," Mr Beagley said.

"On the issue of introducing parking charges everywhere - apart from outside someone's home - we would obviously, as a company, be happy to have an input into a wider discussion and debate, if and when it takes place."

However, Neil Greig, assistant director of IAM Motoring Trust, said charging for parking at out-of-town shopping centres would be "very unpopular". He said: "Places like Braehead are primarily designed for car access and have very poor public-transport access. You would be taxing people for something they have to do.

"If you're talking about city centre, most people would have an alternative (form of transport). It is a more popular method of congestion charging which would be cheaper to implement."

Dr Lesley Sawers, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said it was important the proposed measures did not put businesses at a competitive disadvantage to other businesses elsewhere in the country.

A Scottish Executive spokes-man said: "Ministers have received strategies from regional transport partnerships across Scotland.

"Ministers are currently considering the proposals contained within them and will outline their views in due course."