Air Clean Up

Will a Diesel Parking Charge Cut Pollution?

Feb 13 2017 Comments 0

Air pollution is on the up. We all know by now that pollutants in the air are a growing problem. And we’re all aware of the causes: emissions from cars, industrial emissions and – the underlying cause of them both – the continuous burning away of fossil fuels.

Carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and particulate matter are three of the main culprits. But also amongst the top contenders is nitrogen dioxide flowing out of cars, specifically those fuelled by diesel. So would it reduce the problem if the drivers of those cars were charged more for parking?

Capital of emissions

Over the past few years, London has seen some of the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide in the world. The pollutant is linked to around 5,900 deaths annually in the British capital, based on a study by King’s College London. And the pollution from diesel vehicles, particularly those that are heavy-duty, has played a big part, according to the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Pay-(more)-as-you-park

In an attempt to reduce the problem, Westminster council is introducing a levy on diesel cars – nicknamed the D-charge – which will be charged if and when they park in the city centre district. Pay-as-you-park bays around the area of Marylebone will charge £2.45 an hour extra for diesel drivers. This means instead of the standard £4.90 hourly rate, diesel drivers will be charged £7.35.

Easy as A-B-C

The D-charge will soon be accompanied by a T-charge too. London Mayor, Sadiq Khan plans to charge highly polluting vehicles £10 per day to enter London as a toxic tax. The two will join the C-charge congestion tax, which charges all vehicles entering central London between the peak hours of 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday.

Will the new D-charge initiative reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions? It’s hoped that instead of paying the extra money, drivers will opt for less polluting cars. This would mean less diesel cars on the road and less harmful emissions. But at an extra 50% on top of the current rate, the money would provide a decent contribution to green initiatives should drivers choose to pay it.

Areas for investment

One area for investment with a growing budget for green initiatives is pollution capture technology. With changing regulations, there are constantly new markets opening up for chemical capture. New standards limiting discharges of mercury, for instance, boosted the market of chemical treatment in the US, as discussed in the article ‘Big Market for Chemicals to Capture Mercury’.

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