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Diesel surcharge to help tackle air quality

Islington Council is to introduce a diesel surcharge for resident parking permits to help improve air quality in the borough.

Diesel vehicles can emit up to four times more nitrogen oxides and 20 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.

Also, research from the World Health Organisation has shown that exposure to diesel emissions can cause a small but significant increase in the risk of lung cancer.

One reason for the growth in diesel vehicle use has been previous EU financial incentives to encourage diesel use to cut carbon dioxide emissions (CO2), but new petrol vehicles are now equal to diesel for CO2.

To encourage a move away from diesel vehicles, Islington Council now proposes a surcharge of £96 a year, the equivalent of £1.85 a week, for resident parking permits for diesel vehicles.

Some vehicles, including taxis and diesel vehicles used by carers and trades people for work, would be exempt from the surcharge.  The diesel surcharge will start in April, and will be payable when permits are renewed or new applications are received.

Cllr Claudia Webbe, Islington Council's executive member for environment and transport, said: "We're committed to improving air quality in Islington, and diesel fumes are a major cause of air pollution.

"Pollutants in diesel exhausts have been linked to heart and lung diseases, which are major causes of serious and long-term health issues and even death in Islington, and the surcharge will encourage a move away from diesel.

"We also need the Mayor of London to do his share, especially replacing high-polluting buses and tackling polluting lorries that travel through our streets."

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.

To see the report to the council's Executive on January 15, please see www.islington.gov.uk/democracy

For more information contact:

Chris Roe
Media Manager
020 7527 8751
Chris.Roe@islington.gov.uk

Notes to editors

Apart from the annual inflationary increase, it is not proposed to increase the fees generally paid for resident parking permits. Islington Council introduced emission-based resident parking policies in 2008 to tackle CO2 emissions, and the move has helped encourage people to use less-polluting vehicles.