Verdant Lane, Catford
Air pollution kills 9,000 Londoners every year, according to research

Lewisham Council plans to introduce increased parking charges for more polluting vehicles as well as a diesel surcharge, which it hopes will help cut the borough’s pollution levels.

Transport cabinet member Brenda Dacres announced the “bold policy” at a cabinet meeting, with the proposals due to go out for public consultation in the summer.

Residents’ permits are currently £120 for a year, although some discounts are already offered for lower-emission vehicles. Lewisham’s new proposals mean owners of the least polluting petrol vehicles could pay just £70 for a year, while the most polluting diesels could incur a £300 annual charge, which would include a £50 diesel surcharge. (See the proposed charges.)

She said: “Road traffic is the largest contributor to air pollution in London. We recently passed a motion declaring a climate emergency. I would encourage people to try lower emission vehicles.”

Air pollution is too high in Lewisham. I welcome @Brenda_Dacres bold report to review Lewisham’s parking charges so that the owners of higher polluting cars will start to pay more!

— Damien Egan (@damienegan) March 27, 2019

Jobs and skills cabinet member Joe Dromey said car users accounted for about a fifth of air pollution in London.

“I am really excited about this. I think it will have a huge impact on toxic air pollution. It is the biggest challenge facing our community,” he said.

“People in the poorest communities are the most likely to suffer [from air pollution],” he added.

Other changes that are part of the consultation include improving free visitor permits, changing the charging structure for penalty charge notices and making sure disabled parking bays are enforceable.

The results of the summer consultation would go to the sustainable development select committee for its input before the final policy is agreed by elected mayor Damien Egan and his cabinet later this year.

The propoals come alongside the introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London on 8 April, which will be expanded to the area within the South and North Circular Roads in April 2021. This will see all cars and vans liable for a daily charge unless they meet new, tighter exhaust emission standards.

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Bridie Witton is the Local Democracy Reporter for Lewisham. The Local Democracy Reporter Service is a BBC-funded initiative to ensure councils are covered properly in local media.
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