Diesel drivers to be charged an extra £2 an hour to park in Islington

Cllr Claudia Webbe hands an anti-idling leaflet to lorry driver Adrian Fafara in Upper Street. (NOTE

Cllr Claudia Webbe hands an anti-idling leaflet to lorry driver Adrian Fafara in Upper Street. (NOTE: Mr Fafara was not idling his lorry engine, just receiving information) - Credit: Archant

Drivers of diesel vehicles will soon be charged £2 an hour for short-stay parking in Islington.

The town hall has become the first council in the country to introduce the fee, in the hope of stopping people using diesel motors due to the pollution they cause.

Parking out of hours that is currently free will remain so even for diesel vehicles, but anyone using the old pay-and-display bays will be affected by the increased charge.

The apps now used to pay for parking will automatically calculate the additional cost based on drivers' number plates.

Bosses estimate between 25 per cent and 30pc of the 1.6million short-stay visitors to the borough do so in diesel and heavy oil vehicles.

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There is already a diesel surcharge in place for resident parking permits, and the new charge will be brought in early next year. It is the latest move by the council to improve air quality, following the introduction of fines for drivers caught idling.

Diesel vehicles can emit up to four times more nitrogen oxides and 20 times more particulate matter than petrol ones.

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Those particulates have been linked to cancer, heart and lung damage, the onset of asthma in vulnerable people, as well as other health problems. Islington has some of the highest pollution levels in London and poor air quality is believed to cause 9,000 premature deaths every year in the capital.

Islington's transport chief Cllr Claudia Webbe said: "London is on the brink of an air quality emergency. 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.

"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."

Cllr Webbe also urged other councils to follow Islington's lead, and repeated her call for Sadiq Khan to make London diesel-free by 2025.

All funds raised by the charge will be spent on transport and parking. Cabinet members will vote on the plans next week at an executive meeting.

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