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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 October 2006, 15:37 GMT 16:37 UK
'Gas guzzlers' face parking hike
Petrol pump
Some motorists would face additional costs under the plan
The cost of residents' parking permits could be linked to car emissions under plans being considered in one of the country's most affluent areas.

A Lib Dem council in London wants owners of gas-guzzling vehicles to pay more to park outside their homes.

Richmond-upon-Thames residents with two high-emission cars could pay 750 a year, compared with 200 now, but the greenest cars would be exempt.

The council hopes other authorities will be encouraged to follow its lead.

Richmond's plan follows national and local schemes targeting emissions and congestion and comes after the Lib Dem conference approved proposals to use new taxes on gas-guzzling cars and airlines to pay for income tax cuts.

If the plans are approved by the council's cabinet on 6 November, the cost of parking the most polluting vehicles in the parts of the borough subject to controlled zones would rise from 100 to 300.

Hear what Richmond's residents have to say on the issue

Those with more than one car would have to pay 50% more for extra permits.

There would be a sliding scale of charges for parking permits based on the government's car tax bands.

Band A, which would be free, would consist of electric cars.

Cars in Band B, which include the Toyota Prius hybrid and the Renault Megane dCi 106 diesel, would be subject to a 50% reduction.

Owners of vehicles covered by band C, like the Fiat Panda 1.2, would get a 10% discount on the cost of a parking permit.

TARGETING CO2 AND CONGESTION
London congestion charge introduced in 2003. Now 8 a day. Extension due in 2007
Road tolls on M6 since 2003. Priced between 1.50 and 7 depending on vehicle and time
New car tax bands in 2006 budget. Top rate of 210 a year
Road pricing. Pilot pay-as-you-drive schemes being developed

But a parking permit would rise by 10% under band D, hitting drivers of the Nissan Micra 1.4, by 30% under band E and by 50% under band F - affecting owners of Ford Mondeo saloons and BMW 3 Series E90 diesels respectively.

The highest band, G, which includes the BMW X5 4.8 litre, the Jaguar X-type and the Renault Espace people carrier, would incur a 200% increase in the cost of a permit.

"Climate change is the single greatest challenge facing the world today," said council leader Serge Lourie.

"We can no longer bury our heads in the sand and pretend that it is not happening, or that dealing with it is up to somebody else.

"And Richmond upon Thames is one of the highest CO2-emitting boroughs in London.

The truth is that we must all start acting now at local level
Serge Lourie,
Richmond Council leader

"For too long, it has been seen as a problem that only central governments or international organisations could address.

"The truth is that we must all start acting now at local level."

London mayor Ken Livingstone, who introduced the congestion charge in 2003, called for other councils in the city to adopt similar measures.

The Local Government Association's environment board chairman Paul Bettison said: "Local authorities up and down the country will be watching these proposals in Richmond with great interest."

Motoring groups, however, suggested such a scheme would be unlikely to win widespread support as many ordinary motorists would be affected.

'Right direction'

Richmond, which is to consult with residents and local businesses, hope to be able to implement the scheme by the new year.

SEE THE PROPOSALS

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Councillor David Trigg, Richmond Council cabinet member for traffic, transport and parking, said he hoped the initiative would be widely copied.

"We are the first in the country to implement a change such as this, and we would certainly hope that others do," he told the BBC.

Tony Bosworth, from Friends of the Earth, said the proposal was a "step in the right direction", but urged the government to increase road tax on gas-guzzlers.

Mike Rutherford from the Motorists' Association said the measure would impact on families with larger saloon cars as well as those driving smaller petrol hatchbacks.

But he acknowledged it might help to encourage people to buy different vehicles in the future.

National policies

Nationally, the government is proposing to bring in road charging to cut traffic levels, and tolls and congestion charging are being considered in many areas.

HAVE YOUR SAY
It's just another tax aimed at a soft, easy target - the motorist
C P, Midlands

London's congestion charge could rise to 25 in 2010 for drivers of high-emissions vehicle - three times the current cost.

The Tory leader David Cameron has said he would offer incentives for green car use.

In the Budget, Chancellor Gordon Brown raised road taxes for the most polluting vehicles, with the worst offenders now attracting a vehicle excise duty of 210.

The Commons environmental audit committee has recommended vehicle excise for the most polluting cars should be 1,800, about nine times the existing rate.

PROPOSED PARKING CHARGES BY CAR TYPE
BAND CO2g/km FIRST PERMIT SECOND PERMIT EXAMPLE (PETROL) EXAMPLE (DIESEL)
A Up to 100 Free Free Honda Insight Smart diesel
B 101-120 -50% (50) 50% increase on first (75) Toyota Prius 1.5, Peugeot 107 1.0 Citroen C2 1.4, Ford Fiesta 1.4
C 121-150 (+ pre-2001 cars under 1549cc) -10% (90) 50% increase on first (135) Fiat Panda 1.2, Ford Ka 1.3 VW Golf 1.9 TDI, Jaguar X-type 2.0
D 151-165 +10% (110) 50% increase on first (165) Peugeot 307 1.4, Nissan Micra 1.4 VW Passat estate 1.9 TDI
E 166-185 (+ pre-2001 cars 1549cc - 3000cc) +30% (130) 50% increase on first (195) Ford Mondeo saloon 1.8i, Rover 75 1.8 Mazda 5 2.0 TD, Jaguar S-Type 2.7 saloon
F 186-224 +50% (150) 50% increase on first (225) Toyota Rav4 2.0, Audi A4 1.6 Land Rover Freelander 2.0, BMW 5 series 3.0 estate
G Over 225 (+ pre-2001 cars over 3000cc) +200% (300) 50% increase on first (450) Renault Espace 2.0, BMW X5 4.8
Source: Richmond upon Thames Council




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The aims of the proposed parking charge increases



SEE ALSO
Sir Menzies wins crunch tax vote
19 Sep 06 |  UK Politics
Brown targets polluting vehicles
22 Mar 06 |  Business
Cameron to target car emissions
24 Apr 06 |  UK Politics
The new car tax bands
22 Mar 06 |  Business

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