Westminster City Council has become the first council in Britain to charge diesel car drivers more to park their car than petrol owners, in a trial of a scheme that is expected to be watched closely by other cities across the UK. The council says it is doing it to help tackle air pollution. 

When parking within Marylebone's 'F zone' parking areas, owners of diesel cars registered before 2015 will be charged 50 percent more than petrol car owners. The council argues these are "some of the heaviest of polluting vehicles" and the surcharge will apply for pay-to-park bays during normal parking hours. 

This will raise the £4.90 an hour rate up to £7.35, a £2.45 per-hour surcharge. The council says the initiative will be monitored carefully to see "how the policy works practically and whether there are positive behavioural changes from it that could be replicated elsewhere". Findings may be fed into planning for the launch of London's Ultra-Low Emissions Zones, due in 2019.

Councillor David Harvey, cabined member for environment, sports and community, said that "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. 

Councillor Julia Alexander added "we'll have to limit the use of diesel-motors in our area in order to try and safeguard the respiratory health of our residents, and the healthy development of our schoolchildren."

Westminster's parking charge is on top of both the London Congestion Charge and the forthcoming London 'T-Charge', a toxicity-based supplement due to come into force later in 2017.

Source: Westminster City Council


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