Gas-guzzlers to be charged more for parking

A Liberal-Democrat controlled council in London is set to become the first local authority to charge higher parking tariffs for gas-guzzling cars.

Richmond upon Thames council has drawn up plans for a sliding scale of residents’ parking permits based on the amount of carbon dioxide a vehicle emits.

Cars that emit less than 100 grams of CO2 per kilometre, such as the Honda Insight hybrid, will pay nothing. The next band, which includes the Toyota Prius, would get a 50 per cent reduction, and owners of a Fiat Panda or Ford Ka would get a ten per cent cut.

The next bands would then impose an additional charge, of ten per cent for Ford Fiestas and Peugeot 306s; of 50 per cent for an Audi A4 or Masda MX5; and a 200 per cent increase for Renault Espaces, Range Rover 4X4 and Porches.

The plans, which will go before Richmond council’s cabinet on November 6th, also include an extra 50 per cent charge on permits for a second car.

“Climate change is the single greatest challenge facing the world today. We can no longer bury our heads in the sand and pretend that it is not happening, or that dealing with it is up to somebody else,” said council leader Serge Lourie.

“Richmond upon Thames is one of the highest CO2 emitting boroughs in London. For too long, it has been seen as a problem that only central governments or international organisations could address. The truth is that we must all start acting now at local level.”

Last month, Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell won approval from the party conference for his plans to introduce a new £2,000 road tax for the most polluting cars.

They were included in a package of tax plans which aimed to shift the burden from income and wealth to bad behaviour – particularly that which causes climate change.

David Cameron’s Conservatives have also promised to increase the proportion of green taxes in the UK, and shadow chancellor George Osborne told the party conference earlier this month: “We will tax the bad not the good, that will be our approach.”

However, the Tories on Richmond council are not impressed with the new parking tariffs – the local party leader, councillor Nicholas True, said they amounted to a million-pound tax on local families and businesses.

“There’s talk about gas-guzzlers. Actually it’s small family cars, 1.5 litres upwards will pay extra under [the] proposals,” he told Today.