Diesel cars to be hit by pollution charge in cities

Diesel smog, haze, pollution
29 Jul, 2014 10:00am Chris Ebbs

Drive to lower air pollution would see diesels and older petrol cars penalised in urban areas by 2020

Owners of diesel cars could face an extra charge in London under controversial plans being drawn up by London Mayor Boris Johnson. The measure would take the daily cost of entering the city past the £20 barrier and could be rolled out around the country.

The plans are an attempt to curb air pollution, and would also see petrol models registered before 2006 penalised under the scheme.

Fines are likely to work in a similar way to the London Congestion Charge, at a similar cost, with the capital taking the lead. However, other cities are thought to be considering similar low-emission zones to help cut diesel emissions.

• Best hybrid cars to buy now

The change in London could go ahead from 2020, and would see diesel drivers charged an additional cost to drive in the low-emission zone. The price is expected to be the sames as the Congestion Charge and will be on top of the Congestion Charge fee.

It will also be governed by the same boundaries as the Congestion Charge zone, and only diesel models that meet the latest Euro 6 emissions standards will be exempt.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs has admitted that London, Birmingham and Leeds would be exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution from vehicles until the 2030s unless tougher action was taken.

• UK speed limit for lorries increased from 2015

Johnson is also expected to lobby the government to raise road tax on diesel models in order to get motorists to switch to cleaner vehicles.

The Mayor also wants to transform the public transport fleet and is hopping to have 7,000 zero emission capable taxis and an additional 1,600 zero emission capable buses on the streets of the capital by 2020. 

Meanwhile, Labour is planning a national network of low emission zones that would force older diesel cars out of most major cities, including Sheffield, Leicester, Bradford, Birmingham, Bristol and 15 other cities, according to the Times.

Do you think extra charges to curb pollution in our urban centres are a good idea? Let us know in the comments section below. Then find out about the most economical cars on sale now