Hounslow council in West London has approved changes to its parking permit system which will see a £50 surcharge levied on all diesel vehicles.
Coming into effect from next week (17 October), the new parking permit charging schedule will see drivers of diesel cars pay up to £130 for a 12 month resident’s permit to park their vehicle, up from £80 under the previous regime.
The new charging scheme has been introduced in response to concerns over the impact of vehicle emissions on air quality in the borough, and was approved at a meeting on Thursday (5 October).
Other boroughs to have introduced a parking surcharge for diesel vehicles include Westminster, Islington and Camden.
Currently residents’ permits cost £80 for the first vehicle, £133 for the second and £220 for any subsequent vehicles. There is a 50% discount for vehicles which emit low levels of Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
The council has agreed to offer free parking permits for vehicles which emit a low level of CO2 emissions – those falling into either the A or B Vehicle Excise Duty tax band, replacing a 50% discount on the permit that had previously been in place.
This could mean that a diesel vehicle which falls into the A or B VED band could be charged only £50 for a permit, despite potentially emitting high levels of nitrogen dioxide.
The council had considered basing charges on the Euro engine emissions standards, but documents published ahead of last week’s meeting claimed that this “conceals great variation in performanceâ€? of vehicles, and therefore has “yet to demonstrate it can deliver significant reductions in NOx emissions in the real worldâ€?.
However, the report suggests that ‘price signals’ are likely to shift consumer behaviour over time, and therefore it has opted to press ahead with the diesel surcharge.
It states: “Modelling undertaken to assess the possible impact of these wider measures on certain areas of exceedance of limit values for NOx in the borough suggests that these interventions alone are unlikely to achieve full compliance in all areas of the borough and so further action is likely to be required. Price signals, in this case in relation to variable parking charges, are a proven technique for shifting consumer behaviour over time and rewarding desirable purchase choices.â€?
Councillors have also approved proposals which it is hoped will make it easier to access car club vehicles, by reducing the cost of a car club permit paid by the borough’s car club operator Zipcar to £100, down from around £200 currently being paid by the company.
According to the authority, the reduction in permit cost will help to boost investment in the service locally.
The council’s report states: “The council’s existing car club operator, Zipcar, have confirmed that the reduction in permit price will allow car club vehicles to be progressed in more marginal sites in terms of initial utilisation as well as increase resources available for marketing and promotion.â€?