London Drivers to Pay Diesel ‘Parking Charge’

World | Environmental Protection


Diesel drivers in central London will soon have to pay more to park on the city’s streets, after Westminster Council revealed plans to impose parking surcharges as part of its latest efforts to cut air pollution.

Westminster Council will embark on a pilot scheme in April which will see diesel drivers pay an extra 50 per cent in parking charges, on top of the standard £4.90-per-hour charge.

In real terms, this means parking will cost 8p per minute for non-diesels, and 12p per minute for diesel vehicles. Number plate recognition will be used to identify diesel cars, the council said.

The pilot zone, which will cover the Marylebone area, will only apply to visiting cars, not residents. The area has some of the highest pollution in London – a city which has already breached it legal limit for air pollution for the year.

In a statement the Council said a ‘polluter pays’ principle will reduce harmful vehicle emissions, while any money raised will be spent on initiatives to promote sustainable transport.

Councillor David Harvey, cabinet member for the environment, sports and community, said air quality is a major concern for local residents. “Additional charges for diesel vehicles will mean people think twice about using highly polluting cars and invest in cleaner transport that will make a real difference in the quality of air we breathe and our environment,” he said in a statement.

News of the pilot coincided with the announcement of £64m of new transport funding from the government on Friday, which will be spent on encouraging commuters to walk, cycle or take public transport to work across the UK.

Announced by Transport Minister Andrew Jones, the cash – to be invested over the next three years – will be spent on extra training for cyclists, more cycle storage facilities in urban areas, route mapping for pedestrians, real time bus information, and funding for car sharing clubs.

“We are committed to improving how people travel and this investment will ensure that people’s journeys are cheaper, safer and better for the environment. It will help people to become more active and better transport planning will reduce congestion on our roads – particularly at peak times,” Jones said in a statement.