Islington Council to charge diesel car owners £96 extra a year for parking permits
16:32 15 January 2015
More than 9,000 Islington drivers will have to pay £96 extra a year for parking permits as the council attempts to reduce deadly air pollution in the borough.
The town hall hopes the move, which would see anyone with a diesel vehicle charged an extra £8 a month, will lead to a gradual abandonment of diesel vehicles before the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) is launched in 2020.
Exposure to high levels of air pollution is a factor in 74 per cent of deaths in the borough each year, with the most deprived areas of the borough being the most polluted.
The council’s report on the proposal, which is set to go before the executive tonight, says the policy will benefit everyone living in the borough – outweighing the extra financial strain on residents on low income.
The move comes a month after the town hall was criticised by Islington Green Cllr Caroline Russel for refusing to join with fellow labour councillors in Hackney and Camden who have called for the ULEZ zone to be extended to the north of the borough and brought in before 2020.
However, the council say the surcharge has been in the pipeline for some time.
Cllr Claudia Webbe, Islington Council’s executive member for transport and environment, said: “The costs to residents to change their vehicle is no mean feat so we want to give them time.
“As a councillor for a ward that will be effected by the ULEZ zone I know how important it is to give residents time to change, but hopefully this surcharge will give residents an incentive to change their vehicles.
“By 2023 we expect the south of the borough to be diesel free.
“We’re committed to improving air quality in Islington, and diesel fumes are a major cause of air pollution.
Some vehicles will be exempt from the charge, with taxis and diesel vehicles used by carers, trades people for work and even places of worship not having to pay.
However, these vehicles will not be safe when the ULEZ zone is introduced which will effect cars which enter the south of the borough.
As it stands residents living in the south of the borough will be exempt from the first three years of the charge until 2023, but residents living the north Islington will have to pay the charge if they want to drive in the ULEZ zone from 2020.
Cllr Caroline Russell, Islington Council’s sole Green party opposition member, said: “I think that it’s great to see the council acknowledge the enormous health ill effects from diesel.
“Although I appreciate it’s tough for owners of diesel cars it’s right that the council is introducing an element of charge for parking that disenfranchises people from operating diesel vehicles because in the long run what Islington needs is fewer diesel vehicles on our roads.
“But I’m mystified that the council appears not to be supporting the expansion of the ULEZ zone. If Camden and Hackney are doing it why can’t Islington. If people in the north of the borough want to drive out of the borough they will be charged from 2020, If they’re in the ULEZ zone they’ll be exempt until 2023 so the argument that it would be unfair makes no sense.
“Diesel is poisonous and it’s giving people cancer.”
Cllr Webbe said that the council favoured a more gradual introduction of the ULEZ zone but that they were asking the Mayor to go further by eventually banning all diesel run engines of any type from inner London.