Published: 3 February, 2017
by ALINA POLIANSKAYA
DIESEL car drivers will be charged an extra 50 per cent to park in Marylebone from April, as part of an innovative trial of emissions-based charging.
Westminster Council chose Marylebone to bring in the new charges as it is one of the most polluted areas in the borough. The pilot charging programme, will be launched on April 3 and will apply to parking bays for visitors. Resident permits will remain unchanged.
Parking charges will be 12 pence per minute for diesel vehicles, some of the heaviest polluters, at park-and-pay metres, compared with eight pence per minute for other vehicles.
Tim Carnegie, chairman of Marylebone Association, said: “Marylebone residents are pleased that the Low Emission Neighbourhood is taking action to deter visiting diesel vehicles from driving into our community. Making the polluter pay is just one of the positive steps required to bring about necessary behavioural shifts and improvements in our local air quality.”
The move was also welcomed by the Marble Arch Business Improvement District, which hoped the charges would encourage people not to drive diesel vehicles into the area.
But not everyone has welcomed the decision.
Howard Cox, the founder of the FairFuelUK campaign group which lobbies for a fairer deal for motorists, said: “The decision by Westminster Council to add 50 per cent to the cost of parking diesel vehicles is just greedy, unscrupulous, money-grabbing using dubious emissions evidence as the reason to fleece hard-working motorists.”
Environment chief Cllr David Harvey said: “Residents and visitors tell us all the time that air quality is a key concern in central London and we have consulted our partners and local stakeholders on this practical step in improving our health and wellbeing.
“We have had a positive impact and reduced vehicle emissions through our anti-idling campaign days and by encouraging sustainable and active travel. 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.”