Applying to parking bays in the Westminster City Council-run areas of Fitzrovia, Marylebone and Hyde Park, the 50% increase is seen as a potential strategy in the bid to reduce “shameful” levels of air pollution in the UKs capital.
From April 3 the current charge of £4.90 will go up for drivers of the most offending cars on the roads. The council hopes that by adopting a “polluter pays” initiative, this will start to drive out diesel cars in the long term.
Figures show that as many as 40,000 people die prematurely in the UK every year as a result of air pollution, largely attributed to the roads and large factories.
People with heart problems and the aging population have been warned this week to avoid strenuous activity when out in busy areas of London, with mayor Sadiq Khan issuing the first “high pollution” alert.
The London Air Quality Network said a build-up of emissions from traffic, wood burning and pollution from the continent came as a result of calm and settled conditions last weekend.
Westminster’s environmental cabinet member David Harvey states that additional parking charges will make drivers “think twice” about their choice of vehicle in the longer-term.
A spokeswoman for Mayor Khan says the Government must consider the introduction of a nationwide diesel scrappage scheme, to make it easier for those on board with the idea of investing in cleaner options.
Labelling the air quality in London as shameful, she added that Westminster has some of the most polluted roads in the city.
She also added: “(The Mayor)… is also consulting on bringing forward and extending the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, and is cleaning up London’s bus fleet.
“In addition, the Mayor is supporting London boroughs to tackle air quality, including through his £11 million Low Emission Neighbourhoods programme, which is helping polluted areas in Westminster like Marylebone High Street.”
Whether penalising normal working families who have diesel vehicles is the answer remains to be seen, this does not certainly seem to be a ‘one-size’ fits all approach either. With much of London’s road network running on diesel fuel, this is really a drop in the ocean and. with rising costs across the board for the average UK driver such as car insurance costs, fuel and road tax. This is just another added cost when you go out onto London’s roads