Councils are coming down hard on diesel drivers who leave their engines running unnecessarily. There will be on the spot fines for diesel drivers who are thought to be causing needless air pollution. Mayor Boris Johnson announced only a few days ago that motorists with diesel engines will incur a £10 increase in the congestion charge from 2020.
Diesel drivers are being betrayed
This crackdown is part of meeting EU environmental goals. The vehicles targeted are lorries, buses and all diesel cars. School drop-offs and pickups will be particularly targeted; parents often leave engines running while waiting to pick up children from school.
Islington Council is taking the lead in effecting the crackdown. They are issuing on-the-spot fines of £20 to drivers who are leaving their diesel engines running and refuse to switch it off. If the fine is not immediately paid it doubles to £40. Other councils are also looking at tackling idling diesel cars in their areas.
Businesses now have to re-route their premises
The diesel engine idling and congestion charge crackdown is a massive blow to businesses big and small. If customers can't wait for a while without incurring a fine and loading and unloading gets tricky and costly businesses will have to think about re-locating their premises. Many people believe that local government is making a big mistake as everybody loses one way or another. These charges are sending out the wrong messages to diesel drivers, customers and business people.
For many years, drivers enjoyed driving diesel cars because they were generally cheaper to run and insure. However, over the last few years it has lulled people into a false sense of security as they are now being hit with fines and increasing diesel fuel costs. Diesel toxicity was once overlooked when diesels were all the rage during the 1990's but now that we have higher environmental awareness and burgeoning pressure from the EU we do now have to think about the detrimental effect on the environment. A lot of diesel drivers feel that this is unfair since they were encouraged to buy diesel cars and weren't warned that diesel engines emit ten times more nitrogen dioxide than petrol.
Activists are now pleading with government to increase road tax on diesels instead of issuing fines and increasing congestion charges. At least, an increase on diesel road tax would bring diesels in line with petrol engines. Eventually, this increase will have a knock-on effect with other borough’s and cities in the UK. This will be catastrophic for all city residents and workers all over the country. At present, our cities are not surpassing safe levels of nitrogen dioxide, which means councils will have to sharpen up by 2020 to be in line with the European cleaner air targets. Sadly, that means the motorist will end up paying at least some of the price.