Diesel drivers in Lewisham could be facing a parking permit hike of £180 per year, an increase of 150 per cent. 

New banded parking permit prices are set to be introduced in the borough if proposals are agreed next month.  

The council is updating its 2014 parking policy to reduce emissions and improve air quality in the borough.

According to the parking report: “In February 2019 Lewisham Council agreed a motion to declare a climate emergency and asked Mayor and Cabinet to agree a new climate change action plan by the end of 2019/20 with the aims of making the borough carbon neutral by 2030.

“Transport is a significant source of carbon emissions as well as other

pollutants harmful to air quality and this proposal, with reductions in CO2 emissions, will move the borough closer to this goal.”

The bands are emissions-based and range from electric vehicles in band 1 (zero emissions) to a Range Rover Sport 5.0 V8 Supercharged in band 13 256+CO2g/km. 

Band 2 involves vehicles emitting between 101 and 110 CO2g/km, which rises by 9CO2g/km per band. 

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The cost for band 1 starts at £70 per year and increases by £15 per band. 

Diesel drivers – 3,794 in the borough – will have to pay an extra £50 surcharge on top of their parking permit costs unless their cars “conform to the most recent vehicle emissions standards (Euro VI standards or higher)”. 

The current price of a 12-month resident permit is £120.  

Drivers with vehicles in band 1 will pay £70 per year, in band 2 £85 per year, in band 3 £100 per year, in band 4 £115 per year, in band 5 £130 per year, in band 6 £145 per year, in band 7 £160 per year, in band 8 £175 per year, in band 9 £190 per year, in band 10 £205 per year, in band 11 £220 per year, in band 12 £235 per year, and in band 13 £250 per year.  

This means the 153 diesel vehicles in band 13 will face parking charges of £300 per year.

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Business rates will also be banded, with those using electric vehicles saving £200 per year from £500.

However, any business using vehicles in band 5 - an engine over 1501cc - or higher will face a hike in costs.

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If the proposals are agreed at Mayor and Cabinet in January, the new prices will come into effect in April 2020.

The council held two consultations between June and August 2019, one for the public and one for its staff.

Nearly 60 per cent of people agreed that the council should introduce lower rates for lower emission vehicles but 21 per cent strongly disagreed.

While most people (85 per cent) said they were aware of the health issues posed by diesel cars, only 51 per cent thought there should be a £50 surcharge.

Concerns were raised that diesel drivers were being “punished” for buying the cars on Government advice.

The plans also include providing a free 10 hours of visitor parking credit per year only when residents pay for an annual permit – vistors permits are also set to rise from £20 weekly to £25.60.

It’s proposed that Penalty Charge Notices are set at the same cost – £200 – across the borough instead of being divided into band A and band B, a hike of £80 from the highest cost currently.

Concerns were raised during the consultation that the charges were already too high.

The council also wants to charge those who use Pay and Display the same rate at £2 per hour, regardless of whether they use cash or card.

Currently, card users are charged an extra 20p per hour at £1.60, while cash users pay £1.40.

The number of Pay and Display machines will also be significantly reduced because they are more that 15 years old and “many are beyond repair”.

“The cost of replacing all the machines would be in the region of £850,000,” according to the council, which has temporarily taken nearly half of 191 machines out of action to gauge public response after a surge in cashless transactions.

The staff consultation found that the majority of council workers do not want to be charged the same for parking as employees across the borough, resulting in a recommendation that they remain on the business tariff.  

The proposals will go to a sustainable scrutiny committee on December 4 before going to Mayor and Cabinet in January.