The south-west London borough of Merton has issued 971 parking permits to residents and businesses driving diesel vehicles, since the introduction of a ‘diesel levy’ by the council in April 2017.
Since the start of the scheme, drivers applying for a parking permit to park their diesel vehicles in the borough have had to pay £90 for an annual pass. Residents parking petrol vehicles pay a total of £65 for the yearly pass, while electric vehicles are charged at £25 per year.
The charge for permits for diesel vehicles will be increased to £115 in 2018/19 and £150 in 2019/20, which the council claims will give drivers time to change their vehicles, if they wish to avoid the increased cost.
The council says that money raised through the increased parking charge will be spent on air pollution, sustainable transport initiatives and infrastructure, such as cycle lanes.
Similar schemes operate in London boroughs including Islington, Kensington and Chelsea and Camden.
According to Merton council, the scheme will be review in 2019 with a view to introducing a “comprehensive emissions-based parking schemeâ€? which could link permit pricing to the vehicle’s environmental performance.
Introducing the scheme earlier this year, Merton council’s cabinet member for street cleanliness and parking Councillor Ross Garrod, said: “The environment and air quality where we live should be something we are all concerned about and must all take a certain amount of responsibility for.
“Bad air quality has been identified as a leading cause of ill health and premature death. We want to do our bit in Merton to encourage people to ensure they drive the least polluting vehicles possible.â€?
Blanket charges for diesel vehicles have in the past been criticised by the car industry, which has claimed that the measure does not distinguish between more modern vehicles which emit fewer pollutants, and older, more-polluting vehicles (see airqualitynews.com story).