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Westminster to trial diesel-based parking surcharge 

Diesel drivers in Westminster will have to pay an extra 50% on fees for parking within Marylebone from this April.

Car exhaust

Diesel drivers will be charged an extra 50% by Westminster City Council to park in a pilot scheme intended to cut air pollution.

The pilot programme is being held by Westminster City Council and will see the charge for pay-to-park bays during normal parking hours raised within F Zone for diesel cars. The surcharge will add 50% to the current rate of £4.90 per hour. 

The charge will apply from 3 April 2017 and will cover the Marylebone Low Emission Neighbourhood including the three business improvement districts (BIDs).

The council said it’s adopting a ‘polluter pays’ approach within the area as it has some of the highest pollution levels in London, which is down to location, mix of land uses, building density and type, and number of vehicle trips. 

Cllr David Harvey, Cabinet Member for Environment, Sports and Community said: “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.”

In response RAC public affairs manager Nick Lyes said: “Adding a 50% parking price surcharge to diesel vehicles is unlikely to make any difference to London’s air quality and will simply be seen as another charge on motorists. Westminster’s approach is also arguably not evidence based as the surcharge takes no account of how much a vehicle is used and therefore how much it is contributing to the air quality problem – which calls into question the council’s assertion that they are applying a ‘polluter pays’ approach to tackling the problem. 

“Without question tough action needs to be taken to improve air quality – our concern is that this blanket approach that applies to all diesel cars, regardless of how polluting they are, is simply the wrong one. The problem needs to be looked at in its entirety with any measures fairly applied across all contributors to poor quality air, be they private or business motorists, private hire firms or bus operators.”

Natalie Middleton

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