Merton set to bring in diesel levy to tackle air pollution

Merton Council is set to introduce a new diesel levy in April 2017 in response to a national health emergency and the Mayor of London’s pledge to cut air pollution in the capital.

Recognising the difficult financial climate many residents continue to face, the council will phase in the levy of £150 gradually over three years with an initial charge of £90 this year: The levy will apply to resident, business and trade parking permits.

Year Diesel levy for resident, business and trade parking permits
2017/18 £90
2018/19 £115
2019/20 £150

Diesel car pollutionMerton’s resident parking permits have been fixed at £65 since 2010 and remain among the most reasonable in London. Now, the council is using its powers in an effort to encourage people to move away from diesel and towards less polluting vehicles. Having listened to concerns raised by the scrutiny panel about giving people enough time to change their vehicle, it was decided to phase in the levy incrementally rather than bring in the full £150 additional cost in one hit.

Electric vehicles
To further encourage the use of cleaner vehicles, the council is to reduce the resident parking permit charge for electric vehicles to £25 per year. A network of electric vehicle charging points in Merton is currently being installed and will be available very soon.

The council will review the effectiveness of the levy in two years’ time with a view to introducing a comprehensive emissions-based parking scheme which could link permit pricing to the vehicle’s environmental performance.

Merton would be joining Islington, Kensington and Chelsea and Camden, which have already introduced a levy for diesel vehicles.

Merton Council is committed to ensuring any money raised through such a scheme in the borough would go towards tackling air pollution, local sustainable transport initiatives and necessary infrastructure such as cycle lanes.

The council’s research has found that diesel vehicles in Merton contribute disproportionately to local air pollution. This was based on real-life on-road emissions rather than the manufacturers’ specification. The Royal College of Physicians report Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution says that each year in the UK, around 40,000 deaths are attributable to exposure to outdoor air pollution and King’s College London has estimated that air pollution was responsible for about 9,400 deaths in London in 2010 and 3,400 hospital admissions, not only impacting adversely on the lives of many families, but also resulting in an estimated associated economic cost of £3.7 billion. 

Changes to traffic management orders relating to controlled parking zones

Following the decision to introduce the diesel levy, the council has a duty to consult with residents and businesses within Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) on the proposed changes to all the existing traffic management orders relating to CPZs. The documents are available Monday to Friday during office hours at the civic centre in Morden and at all Merton libraries. They are also available online at  Comments on the proposed amendments to the orders should be sent to the civic centre or emailed to quoting ES/DIESELLEVY by 3 February 2017.

Merton Council’s cabinet member for street cleanliness and parking Councillor Ross Garrod said: “The environment and air quality where we live should be something we are all concerned about and must all take a certain amount of responsibility for. Bad air quality has been identified as a leading cause of ill health and premature death. We want to do our bit in Merton to encourage people to ensure they drive the least polluting vehicles possible.”

The emissions levy paper in full