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London’s diesel drivers under fire again

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London’s diesel drivers came under renewed pressure today as a local council said it would introduce a surcharge for short stay parking by diesel vehicles.

The charge, due to be rolled out in January by Islington Council, will cost all diesel owners an extra £2 per hour on top of existing hourly parking fees, bringing the total to as much as £8.

The council pointed out that diesel vehicles are linked with poor air quality and can emit up to four times more nitrogen oxides and twenty times more particulate matter than petrol vehicles. It said: “As an inner city borough containing several major transport routes, Islington suffers from some of the highest pollution levels in London. Islington Council already has a diesel surcharge in place for resident parking permits, and will now introduce it for diesel vehicles using short-stay visitor parking.”

The move is another blow for diesel drivers, who are also likely to come under attack in the budget on 22 November.

Nicholas Lyes, RAC public affairs manager, said: “This move by Islington Council will further antagonise drivers of diesel vehicles in the borough who are already having to pay more for parking close to where they live. Those that rely on their own car – including families and small businesses – might dearly wish to switch to a new, cleaner vehicle but the cost of doing so is almost certainly what’s stopping them.

“Clearly, Islington Council feels compelled to do something to improve air quality in the borough, but targeting parked vehicles when other options may be available indicates they perhaps are more interested in raising revenue from diesel owners. Unfortunately for them though, emissions of nitrogen dioxide don’t just come from private cars, they come from buses and taxis and other sources such as factories. And of course, replacing older buses and encouraging newer, cleaner private hire vehicles both fall under Transport for London’s remit.”

The RAC said the Transport for London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will eventually cover a wide geographical area, including Islington, and this may be a more sensible way to target the most polluting vehicles.

See’s Is it worth buying a diesel car? for more information.

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