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Islington Council to introduce diesel surcharge for short stay parking

Islington Council will be the first local authority to introduce a borough-wide surcharge for diesel vehicles using short stay parking.

The charge will be £2 per hour, and will apply to all diesel fuelled vehicles.

Diesel vehicles are linked with poor air quality and can emit up to four times more nitrogen oxides and twenty times more particulate matter than petrol vehicles.

Diesel particulates have been linked to cancer, heart and lung damage, the onset of asthma in vulnerable people, and other health problems.

As an inner city borough containing several major transport routes, Islington suffers from some of the highest pollution levels in London.

Islington Council already has a diesel surcharge in place for resident parking permits, and will now introduce it for diesel vehicles using short-stay visitor parking.

It estimates that between 25-30% of the 1.59 million short-stay visitor parking sessions are made by diesel and heavy oil vehicles.

The council believes the surcharge, which is due to come into effect in early 2018, will help to discourage the use of diesel vehicles and reduce harmful emissions.

Cllr Claudia Webbe, Islington Council's executive member for environment and transport, said: “London is on the brink of an air-quality emergency, with traffic pollutants linked to health problems that are shortening the lifespans of residents.

“Islington straddles several major thoroughfares, with huge amounts of traffic putting out toxic diesel pollutants stopping in the borough every day.

“The main causes of death in Islington are cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases and cancer – all of which are exacerbated by diesel emissions. It is not right that local residents should have to bear the burden of through-traffic pollution on their health.

“We hope that this measure will encourage owners of diesel vehicles to switch to cleaner, more sustainable modes of transport and lead to improved air quality in the borough.

“We should not forget though that air quality is a problem for all London residents and we would encourage other local authorities to consider implementing a borough-wide diesel surcharge.

“The Mayor of London also has to do his part, and we would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our call to the Mayor for a diesel-free London by 2025.”

The report recommending the surcharge will be considered by the Council Executive on November 23, and is available on the council website.

Notes to Editor: 

  • Poor air quality in London is believed to result in around 9,000 premature deaths every year.
  • Diesel engine exhaust contains soot, aerosols such as ash particulates, metallic abrasion particles, silicates and nitrogen dioxides. The black carbon element of diesel has a particularly adverse effect on human health.
  • All funds raised by the diesel surcharge on short stay parking will go into a ring-fenced account to be used for transport and parking related activities.
  • The diesel surcharge supports the council's Sustainable Transport Strategy and is part of wider work to improve air quality. This includes enforcement at pollution hotspots, with fines for drivers who refuse to switch off their engines while stationary.
  • Islington Council has also called for London to join cities such as Paris, Madrid and Mexico City and ban all diesel vehicles from Greater London by 2025.