London's parking charges will now be based on emissions

 
By Priyanka Chandola
Published: Thursday 15 March 2007

gas-guzzlers in London's Borough of Richmond, in southwest London, will now have to pay hefty parking charges. The Richmond council cleared a plan to introduce emission-based parking charges in the first week of February.

The council becomes the first local authority to implement a controlled parking zones scheme. As per the plan--which will come into force in May--parking charges will be based on carbon dioxide (co2)emissions of cars. This means, cars with low co 2 emissions will be charged less, while those with high emissions will pay more.

Car owners in London currently pay roughly us$150 (100) a year for parking permits. With the new plan in place, owners of gas-guzzlers will have to pay three times more to get a parking permit. While smaller cars will get a 50 per cent discount at the current rate, hybrid vehicles are exempted from getting a parking permit. According to the council, in the long run, the process will help them create policies to lower carbon emissions.

Before implementing the scheme, the council carried out a survey in October 2006. At least 47 per cent of the respondents favoured the plan, while 39 per cent were against it. Nearly 64 per cent of the respondents also indicated that the new charges would make them opt for lesser polluting vehicles.

Following Richmond, nine other councils both in and outside London are now planning to implement a similar scheme. Ken Livingstone, mayor of London, also intends to apply similar scheme in the central London congestion zone from 2008.

Environmental groups have hailed the move and say the scheme is a major step towards getting gas-guzzlers off the uk road.

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