Diesels un­fairly tar­geted by un­in­formed de­ci­sion mak­ing and ran­dom penal­ties

Auto Express - - Watchdog - Martin Saari­nen Mart­in_saari­nen@den­nis.co.uk @ Ae_­con­sumer

DIESEL driv­ers haven’t had it easy in the past 12 months. The Govern­ment has just an­nounced it will in­crease taxes on new diesels next year if they fail to keep up with real-world emis­sions, while cities such as Lon­don are lead­ing the charge against ex­ist­ing own­ers.

Is­ling­ton has be­come the lat­est coun­cil to un­fairly tar­get diesel driv­ers, by re­quir­ing them to pay an ad­di­tional £2 for park­ing. The blan­ket rule, which comes into force early next year, will see driv­ers of all diesel ve­hi­cles – re­gard­less of age or type – forced to pay an ex­tra £2 an hour to park in coun­cil-run bays.

The coun­cil said that res­i­dents “suf­fer from some of the high­est pol­lu­tion levels in Lon­don”, and went on to blame diesels as a ma­jor source of air pol­lu­tion in the bor­ough.

What the coun­cil plan­ners clearly haven’t un­der­stood is the dif­fer­ence be­tween new and old diesel cars. Those that fall un­der the cur­rent Euro 6 cri­te­ria (from Septem­ber 2015) are far cleaner than their pre­de­ces­sors.

The Is­ling­ton ex­am­ple high­lights the hole the Govern­ment has dug for it­self in the Air Qual­ity Plan it an­nounced in May, where lo­cal au­thor­i­ties were told to deal with air pol­lu­tion is­sues them­selves. Am­bi­tious tar­gets without proper over­sight lead to sce­nar­ios such as this, where groups of mo­torists are un­fairly tar­geted by plans drawn up by un­in­formed politi­cians.

If the Govern­ment is se­ri­ous about re­duc­ing air pol­lu­tion fairly, it can’t just give lo­cal au­thor­i­ties carte blanche. Step in and come up with a clear plan that doesn’t un­fairly tar­get over a third of Bri­tain’s driv­ers.

“Coun­cils clearly haven’t un­der­stood dif­fer­ences be­tween clean new diesels and old cars”

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