Drivers of the most polluting diesels already face steep congestion charges to enter London’s city centre, and now they will also have to pay more to park across two central boroughs.
Islington Council announced yesterday it will launch a borough-wide scheme to charge diesel cars an extra £2 an hour to park within its boundaries, with the cost applying to all diesel vehicles regardless of age or pollution level.
The council said its decision was motivated by concern over the impact diesel vehicles are having on air quality in the capital, which is far in breach of legal limits set by the EU.
Westminster Council is already trialling a similar scheme in Marylebone, although the 50 per cent parking surcharge only applies to diesels built before 2015.
In Islington, drivers of diesels already have to pay more for residential parking permits, and the short-stay surcharge is due to come into force in early 2018.
“London is on the brink of an air-quality emergency, with traffic pollutants linked to health problems that are shortening the lifespans of residents,” Claudia Webbe, Islington Council’s executive member for environment and transport, said in a statement.
“Islington straddles several major thoroughfares, with huge amounts of traffic putting out toxic diesel pollutants stopping in the borough every day.
“We hope that this measure will encourage owners of diesel vehicles to switch to cleaner, more sustainable modes of transport and lead to improved air quality in the borough.”
The news came as a new report from the National Audit Office (NAO) found the government’s proposals for addressing air pollution across the country would not bring the UK back into compliance with legal limits until 2026.
It also stressed that the plan, which places much of the onus for addressing air quality on local authorities, comes at a time when local council budgets are under fierce pressure. “Government needs to assure itself that local authorities have sufficient capacity and resource to manage the actions needed,” the report warned.