Westminster City Council will become the first in the UK to impose a surcharge for diesel cars parking in the area.
The so-called “D-charge” will be an extra £2.45 an hour for a maximum of 4 hours, so the levy could be up to £9.80. This is on top of the usual £4.90 an hour to park in a pay-to-park bay.
The council’s announcement comes just days after air pollution levels in London hit ‘black alert’, forcing schools to close and advice to be issued regarding outdoors exercise activities. Marylebone Road, within the area, was one of the locations to be hit with the toxic air alert.
There are two hospitals and several major attractions in the area, which frequently breaches safe air limits.
Councillor David Harvey, the Cabinet member for Westminster 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.”
London is seen as trailing other capitals, including Paris and Oslo, in having in place measures to tackle toxic air.
Kay Buxton from the Marble Arch Business Improvement District said “We welcome Westminster’s first step to addressing air pollution through differential parking charges and hope to see a resultant behaviour change, with people choosing not to bring diesel vehicles into the area.”
The funds raised from the charge are intended to be spent on sustainable initiatives.
Author Lex Barber