Lambeth Council is proposing a new parking policy, linking the cost of a resident's parking permit to vehicle emissions.
The standard charge will go up to £155 a year for owners of cars in tax bands C and D, a rise of £55. This band covers cars emitting between 121 and 165g/km and includes the Fiat Panda 1.2-litre petrol, and VW Passat 1.9-litre diesel.
Residents with the vehicles in the highest band G, emitting more than 225g/km, will face parking bills of up to £200. This will affect cars like the Renault Espace 2.0-litre petrol, as well as perceived 'gas-guzzlers' such as the Range Rover 4.2 V8 petrol.
Owners of cars in the lowest emissions bracket, putting out less than 100g/km, for example the Honda Insight hybrid, could pay as little as £30 a year. Charges are likely to be introduced between April and July 2007.
The Labour-run council says this brings Lambeth in line with other boroughs that have long been charging more for parking, as well as reflecting people's concerns about damage to the environment. Counsellor Nigel Hasleden said: 'We would urge Lambeth residents to consider the amount their car pollutes - and, indeed, whether they need to run their own car at all.'
Money raised will be pumped into road safety schemes, traffic calming schemes, and Freedom Passes for elderly and disabled residents.
Luke Bosdet from the AA Motoring Trust said: 'We think this is anti-large families, who have cars in the higher-emissions band, but who can carry six or seven people at a time. It also discriminates against residents without a driveway or off-street parking.'
Bosdet called for Lambeth to think again. 'The quickest way of reducing emissions in the borough would be to tackle drivers with no MoT certificate, which haven't passed the most basic emissions test,' he said.
Lambeth is the second council in London to propose an emissions-linked parking permit pricing scheme - Richmond was the first. Bosdet believes more will follow: 'The idea will spread across London and then the rest of the country, as councils use environmental fears to prop up their finances.
'We prefer the systems being put in place by councils such as Brent and York, where low-emissions drivers are rewarded, but where large families, who are already likely to be financially stretched, are not penalised.'
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