Emissions-Based Parking Fees - What You Need to Know

Parking fees are a familiar part of urban life, a small but significant detail in the daily routines of many drivers. However, a new trend is emerging that could fundamentally change the way we think about these fees. Emissions-based parking charges is a new approach to parking that isn't just about generating revenue; it's a strategic move designed to combat air pollution and promote environmental sustainability. Here's what you need to know. 

What Are Emissions-Based Parking Fees?

If paying the Congestion Charge wasn't enough, drivers are now having to think about emissions-based parking fees. They're all about charging drivers based on how much carbon dioxide their vehicle emits. The more your car pollutes, the more you pay. Simple, right? But why are they becoming a thing?

Well, it's about reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality. A 2021 review by Imperial College showed that air pollution kills up to 4,100 people in London each year, with pollution from motor vehicles alone costing the NHS in London £605 million a year in additional healthcare costs. So, it's a pretty big deal.

Not only that, but the UK wants to become more sustainable and lower its emissions. Traditional fuel-based cars pump out a lot of the stuff, and placing charges on vehicles that create high emissions is one way to bring down usage. 

How do Emission-Based Parking Fees Work?

Emissions-based parking fees are a type of parking charge that varies depending on the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) a vehicle emits. The principle is simple: the higher the emissions, the higher the parking fee.

This system is designed to incentivise drivers to use vehicles with lower emissions, or to consider more sustainable modes of transport. It's part of a broader strategy to combat air pollution and promote environmental sustainability.

In practice, the amount you would pay for parking would depend on the emissions category of your vehicle. For example, electric vehicles and hybrids, which have lower emissions, would typically attract lower parking fees compared to high-emission vehicles like certain SUVs or older diesel cars.

The goal of these fees is not just to generate revenue but to encourage behavioural change among drivers and contribute to the reduction of harmful emissions in our cities.

Which London Borough has Emissions Charges?  

The first London borough to implement emissions-based parking fees was the City of London in 2018. Croydon has also committed to the fees, and as of May 30 2023, Lambeth is the latest to introduce them. 

These councils set out a new emissions-based charging structure for parking permits and on-street parking as part of their efforts to improve air quality and create a fairer, more equal borough. This new pricing structure sees drivers of vehicles that produce the highest emission levels pay more to park. 

Right now, the City of London, Croydon and Lambeth are the only borough to commit to emissions-based parking fees. But it's worth noting that many boroughs across London and the rest of England are increasingly adopting measures to combat air pollution and promote environmental sustainability, so it's likely that more will consider implementing similar emissions-based parking fees in the future.

How Much Are Emissions-Based Parking Fees?

When it comes to emissions-based parking fees, how much you pay depends on your car's tax band and whether there's a diesel surcharge. 

The City of London charges are as follows: 

  • Low-emission vehicles (e.g., electric, hybrid): £1 per 15 mins (£4 per hour)
  • Petrol vehicles registered from 2005 onwards: £1.30 per 15 mins (£5.20 per hour)
  • Diesel vehicles registered from 2015 onwards: £1.30 per 15 mins (£5.20 per hour)
  • Other vehicles: £1.70 per 15 mins (£6.80 per hour)

Lambeth's costs are:

  • Band 1 (1-100 g/km CO2): £4.50 per hour
  • Band 2 (101-130 g/km CO2): £3.50 per hour
  • Band 3 (131-150 g/km CO2): £2.50 per hour
  • Band 4 (151-170 g/km CO2): £1.50 per hour
  • Band 5 (171-190 g/km CO2): £1 per hour
  • Band 6 (191-225 g/km CO2): £0.50 per hour
  • Band 7 (over 225 g/km CO2): £0.20 per hour

Croydon charges:

  • Band A (electric vehicles): £1 per hour
  • Band B (1-50 g/km CO2): £1.50 per hour
  • Band C (51-75 g/km CO2): £2 per hour
  • Band D (76-90 g/km CO2): £2.50 per hour
  • Band E (91-100 g/km CO2): £3 per hour
  • Band F (101-110 g/km CO2): £3.50 per hour
  • Band G (111-130 g/km CO2): £4 per hour
  • Band H (131-150 g/km CO2): £4.50 per hour
  • Band I (151-170 g/km CO2): £5 per hour
  • Band J (171-190 g/km CO2): £5.50 per hour
  • Band K (191-225 g/km CO2): £6 per hour
  • Band L (over 225 g/km CO2): £7 per hour

While Lambeth might be the latest to introduce these fees, it's not alone. Councils across England are expected to roll out similar charges. And it's not just an English thing, either. Cities around the world are looking at emissions-based parking fees as a way to combat air pollution and climate change.

The Silver Lining: Environmental Benefits

There's no doubt that additional costs are unwelcome if you drive a petrol guzzler, but it's not all doom and gloom when you look at the bigger picture. These new charges are expected to encourage sustainable travel while also nudging drivers towards less-polluting vehicles. With the number of electric vehicle options available rising over the years, driver have never had more choice for "going green". 

Park n Pay

Emissions-based parking fees are here to stay, and they're shaking up the parking game. It's a bold move towards a cleaner, greener future. And while it might be a bit of a pain in the wallet, it's a small price to pay for cleaner air and a healthier planet. After all, isn't that worth parking for?

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