Diesel car drivers who park in Islington, north London, will have to pay an extra £2 per hour from January 2018 in a bid to improve air quality.
While many schemes that penalise diesel drivers, such as London's recently introduced Toxicity Charge, only apply to older diesel cars, the parking surcharge to be introduced by Islington Council applies to all diesels, regardless of their age.
Westminster City Council announced a similar parking scheme trial earlier this year, but that only applies to pre-2015 diesels. That levy charges visiting diesel drivers an extra £2.40 per hour to park, a 50% increase on the price for petrol vehicles.
The new scheme in Islington is the first to be borough-wide: it already has a diesel surcharge in place for resident parking, and this will continue alongside the new charge for short-stay parking.
Short-stay parking rates in Islington currently range from £1.20 to £6 an hour. The £2 levy will be enforced by a pay-by-phone app which will identify whether a vehicle is diesel-powered or not by checking its numberplate on the DVLA database.
The AA’s president, Edmund King, has slammed the move, saying that it's “unfair” and that failing to differentiate between older, more polluting diesel vehicles and newer models is “crazy”.
King continued: “Many modern diesels are cleaner than older petrol models. It would be far more effective to target the 10% of gross polluters that cause 50% of the problem. These gross polluters are often older buses, taxis and trucks. This is a diesel demonisation tax that should be scrapped.”