Journeys into central London by older and polluting diesels vehicles could be cut by over a quarter of a million, if a new diesel parking surcharge is introduced.
Westminster City Council is consulting on whether to bring in the new charges across the borough to improve air quality. Residents, businesses and visitors are being asked their views on the change in a city-wide consultation launched to residents this week.
The changes could come in later this year, or early next.
Over the last year Westminster City Council has trialled the diesel parking surcharge in parking zone F, largely comprising Marylebone and Fitzrovia.
The scheme has been very successful, reducing the amount of older diesel vehicles parking in the Marylebone Low Emission Neighbourhood by 16 per cent, without any obvious displacement to nearby parking zones.
Cllr Tim Mitchell, Westminster City Council cabinet member for environment and city management, said: “Our experience in Marylebone proves that the diesel parking surcharge works to improve air quality, by reducing the number of journeys made by polluting diesel cars.
“Residents tell us that air quality is their number one concern, which is why we want to roll out this change across Westminster so that all communities can benefit.
“We welcome views from everybody as part of this consultation. However, we are absolutely committed to taking steps to improve air quality in Westminster and we hope to get a clear endorsement from local people as to how far they would like us to go with these plans.”
Residents, businesses and visitors are being given the chance to give their views on the diesel parking surcharge in a city-wide consultation running between 18th July and 12th September.
Residents are being asked whether the diesel parking surcharge should be rolled out in all parking zones across Westminster at once, or if central London (parking zones D, E, F, G) should go first with the charge introduced in other zones in six months’ time.
The council is also asking if pre-2006 petrol vehicles (which are considered to be as polluting as newer diesel vehicles) should be included.
What it will cost
The diesel parking surcharge was set at 50% in Marylebone, and the same charges are proposed across the borough. Different zones have different costs but in the West End this would mean a £4.90 hourly charge would go up to £7.35 for pre-2015 diesel vehicles.
The smallest increase would be in the north of the borough (Harrow Road, Queen’s Park and Maida Vale) where £1.70 per hour would become £2.55.
The consultation asks whether 50% is the right level to set the surcharge across Westminster.
Methodology for 270,000 reduction calculation
Between June 2017 and July 2018 there were almost 3.7m diesel parking transactions across Westminster, with research suggesting 46 per cent of these were for pre-2015 diesel vehicles, which are higher polluting and would be targeted by the diesel parking surcharge.
Were the 16% reduction seen in Marylebone applied across the city, this would result in a 270,000 yearly drop in the number of diesel cars parking transactions in Westminster.
How many streets
Should the diesel parking surcharge be implemented, a total of 284 streets in Westminster City Council will have a £7.35 charge for pre-2015 diesel vehicles.