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Diesel car drivers could pay £50 a day to take car into Westminster

Drivers of pre-2015 diesel cars could be charged up to £50 a day to use their vehicle in Westminster, under the city council’s plans for a D-charge.

Diesel cars which do not meet the Euro 6 emissions standard already have to pay London’s £12.50 ultra low emission charge and £11.50 congestion charge, and, from September, the local authority is set to impose a 50% surcharge on parking for these vehicles.

These fees will vary according to area, with the top rate in the West End set at £7.35 an hour for pre-2015 diesels. Emission compliant cars face parking charges of £4.90 for the same area.

The surcharge means a driver parking for four hours could pay a total of more than £50 a day in central London.

The revenue will go into a £1 million schools clean air fund which aims to mcut harmful emissions by bringing in road closures, banning polluting vehicles, replacing old boilers and planting gardens around the schools.

Nickie Aiken, leader of Westminster City Council, told The Times: “We don’t want to punish drivers, but the evidence is overwhelming.

“We need to take a polluter-pays approach. We know that transport is responsible for half the most deadly emissions in the air and each year 40,000 deaths are linked to pollution.”

A trial of the diesel parking surcharge in Marylebone found the scheme reduced the number of older diesels visiting the area by 16% and the council said drivers had not parked on nearby streets, meaning that pollution was reduced instead of displaced.

A letter was due to go out to all 45 primary schools in Westminster telling them they can apply for no-pollution zones in their area.

Each school will pick the measures that will work best for their area. The zones are expected to be implemented in the next couple of months.

Last month Aiken called for instant “four-figure fines” for company vehicle drivers who leave their engines running while parked.

The Government is currently considering proposals to give local authorities more power to reduce pollution after calls by a number of councils.

At present, local authorities are unable to impose penalties unless drivers ignore an initial warning and remain stationary for at least another minute.

The fine is £20 or £80 depending on which regulations the authority uses to enforce the law.

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