Saturday, 26 March 2011
The Latest Money-Grabbing Stunt
Twenty years ago we were advised diesel cars were the future - low carbon emissions and more miles to the gallon. The greens were prominent in their praise of diesel vehicles and insisted they were the future of motoring.
Diesel was a few pence a litre less than petrol in those days and that, along with the promise of more miles per gallon, made the purchase of a diesel car attractive.
Nowadays, even though diesel can be up to 7p more a litre than petrol, we still buy diesel-fueled cars and one in four vehicles on the road is a diesel. Many cost less to tax because of lower CO2 emissions - another bonus.
Did I say bonus? There will be no bonuses for diesel car owners who live in London. A motorist with a typical family diesel faces paying more than £150 a year to park outside his or her home if they live in the Tory-controlled Kensington and Chelsea council area. The council intend to impose a £15 surcharge on parking permits for them from next month.
Why are diesel cars being singled out for this extra tax? Well, according to a paper prepared by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs this month, they emit too many small polluting particles which damage local air quality, a particular problem in residential areas with heavy traffic. The report said the government should encourage "small, modern petrol vehicles, petrol hybrids and electric vehicles in urban areas in place of diesel vehicles".
What are the greenies saying? Not a word.
What are the hybrid and electric car manufacturers saying? Nothing publicly but behind closed doors they must be rubbing their hands with glee and thinking all their Christmases have come at once.
This is a blatant money-grabbing stunt, aided and abetted by the Westminster government's DEFRA, to top up the coffers of local councils. Kensington and Chelsea may be the first to inflict this tax upon their residents, but they won't be the last. I wonder if any Scottish council will brave the contempt of their residents by introducing this policy.