Drivers of diesel cars in Lewisham face parking charge hike

By Grainne Cuffe, Local Democracy Correspondent

Drivers of diesel vehicles in Lewisham face a massive rise in parking charges, as town hall chiefs say they want to tackle the climate emergency.

New parking charges from April have been approved in Lewisham including a £180-a-year charge for diesel drivers’ permits, an increase of 150 per cent.

The council is updating its 2014 parking policy to reduce emissions and improve air quality in the borough.

Introducing the report on the charges, Councillor Sophie McGeevor, cabinet member for environment and transport, said the council needed to take “radical steps” to tackle the climate emergency in the face of a “public health crisis”.

The bands are emissions-based and range from electric vehicles in band 1 (zero emissions) to a Range Rover Sport 5.0 V8 Supercharged in band 13 256+CO2g/km.

Band 2 involves vehicles emitting between 101 and 110 CO2g/km, which rises by 9CO2g/km per band.

The cost for band 1 starts at £70 per year and increases by £15 per band.

The 3,794 diesel drivers in the borough will have to pay an extra £50 surcharge on top of their parking permit costs, unless their cars “conform to the most recent vehicle emissions standards (Euro VI standards or higher)”.

The current price of a 12-month resident permit is £120.

Business rates will also be banded, with those using electric vehicles saving £200 per year from £500.

However, any business using vehicles in band 5 – an engine over 1501cc – or higher will face a hike in costs.

The agreed changes also mean mandatory disabled bays will be the only type offered in the borough.

The council held two consultations between June and August 2019, one for the public and one for its staff.

The majority of people agreed that the council should introduce lower rates for lower emission vehicles, but 21 per cent strongly disagreed.

While most people (85 per cent) said they were aware of the health issues posed by diesel cars, only 51 per cent thought there should be a £50 surcharge.

Concerns were raised that diesel drivers were being “punished” for buying the cars on Government advice.

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