Richmond, in South London, has introduced new parking charges linked to carbon-dioxide emissions. Large and heavily-polluting cars will pay three times the standard cost, which could be up to £750 a year, according to the BBC. In many parts of London there is completely free parking for green cars, as in other cities.
Personally I think that a family with two SUV-type cars, living in London, should be penalized a lot more that £750 (around $1500). Justifications for owning such a car have never made sense to me. Claims that they are safer don't make much sense in London, where you rarely get the opportunity to drive above 30mph anyway.David Trigg, cabinet member for traffic, transport and parking, said, 'we want to encourage all residents in our borough to consider how they can reduce their carbon footprints in whatever way they are able. And switching to a car with lower emissions is one way to do that.'
That's an admirable goal, but financial restrictions will have little effect on the demographic that drives SUVs. If a family can afford two such cars, then they can afford to pay £750 for a parking permit. Unless restrictions are prohibitively high, then there will be a negligible impact on emissions in the city.
If the measures reduce even slightly the numbers of heavy-polluting cars on the road, then it's a positive move, although it would be good to see more sensible and practical measures to penalize polluters. In London there is a congestion charge of £8 per day, from which hybrid cars are exempt. If you drive a more efficient, but standard car, then you must still pay the charge. In Sweden the rules are based on mileage, which seems to make more sense.
However, by far the most sensible strategy I have ever heard is to more heavily tax only the fuel itself. That way, the more efficient the car you choose, and the less you drive, it the less you pay.