Diesel Permit Parking Surcharge in Merton

The London Borough of Merton are proposing to introduce a surcharge on all Parking Permits where the vehicle is diesel powered. It has already been approved by Councillors although the decision has been called in for scrutiny at a meeting on the 14th December.

Although the increased charge would be phased in over some years, the surcharge may be as much as £150 which would treble the existing cost for car owners in Merton.

The Council is doing this in the name of attacking the level of NOX emissions and resulting negative health impacts. However, the report they have commissioned and published on this subject leaves out a lot of the evidence necessary to make an informed decision on the matter. For example, a quick analysis revealed that this policy may only reduce such emissions in the longer term by 0.4%. A negligible figure and which might even be impossible to detect.

Why should diesel vehicle owners who require on-street parking be penalised when those with off-street parking or who drive in from outside the borough are not? It’s simply irrational and smacks of “gesture politics” of the worst kind.

Perhaps it has more to do with economics because it would raise revenue for the council when council budgets are so under pressure. But unfortunately raising permit parking charges to do that is illegal which has been backed up by several legal case precedents.

Or of course it may be simply an attack on car owners in one of the few ways that Councils can do so. Regardless, any residents of the Borough of Merton should complain to their local Councillors and attend the council meeting on the 14th December to see what transpires.

You can read the full ABD’s submission to Merton Council on this matter here: http://www.freedomfordrivers.org/ABD_Letter%20to%20LBB%20Merton%202016-12-02.pdf

Roger Lawson

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