Drivers of diesel fuelled vehicles could be in for a nasty shock as plans to charge a ‘toxin tax’ have been revealed.
The Government is reported to have drawn up a shortlist of 35 towns and cities across the UK where motorists of diesel vehicles will be hit with a £20-a-day air pollution levy, reports our sister paper The Daily Post .
Private and commercial diesel vehicles could also face a ban during peak hours in a bid to reduce the number of motors in city centres. Nine or ten of the worst affected cities could be subject to both a ban and a charge.
In a further 25 urban areas, commercial motors such as lorries, taxis and coaches will be targeted by the charges and bans.
The names of the towns affected has not been revealed but it is believed that Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Leeds will be on the list.
It is estimated up to 10 million cars could be affected and is expected to apply to diesel cars manufactured before 2015.
Recent studies have shown that particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel vehicles are being linked to thousands of deaths.
The particles can cause circulatory and respiratory diseases and has lead to a campaigns by health professionals to encourage the Government to do more about the detrimental effects diesel cars have on health.
Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom is expected to unveil the charges this week. The Sunday Times report suggested that individual councils in each area will have to draw up plans to deal with pollution caused by diesel.
However, a Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs (Defra) source said: “We don’t recognise the figures or these numbers.
“Our intention is to publish our plans in due course."
Previous comments from ministers have fuelled the speculation of an impending tax on high-emission vehicles.
When asked whether motorists should think twice before buying a diesel, Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, said: “People should take a long, hard think about what they need, about where they’re going to be driving, and should make best endeavours to buy the least polluting vehicle they can.
“I don’t think diesel is going to disappear but someone who is buying a car to drive around a busy city may think about buying a low-emission vehicle rather than a diesel.”
Mr Grayling also said: “We have to find the right way to migrate the nature of the cars on our roads and the vehicles on our roads to a point where they cause much less of a pollution problem than they do at the moment.”
There have been calls to introduce a scrappage scheme similar to the one implemented in 2009. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has urged the Government to introduce a scheme for diesel cars and vans in London.
An toxicity charge in London has already been confirmed and will be implemented from October 23. High emission vehicles with pre-Euro engines (those registered before 2005) will have to pay £10 in addition to the existing £11.50 congestion charge in the Greater London area - meaning a whopping £21.50 bill a day to drive in the capital.