From: John Elvidge (RP&WBRA)]
To: Councillor Stephen Alambritis
Date: 27th January 2017
Re: Diesel Levy
I write as Chairman of the Raynes Park and West Barnes Residents' Association. I understand that the Council is proposing to bring in a levy on diesel vehicles as early as this April, with a surcharge for parking permits and business permits, that is likely to increase in future years. Please take this e-mail into account in reply to the public consultation that you are (belatedly) undertaking.
While I understand that modern research shows that such vehicles bring health issues, there does need to be a period of time for public education and during which people are able to change vehicles, otherwise the costs to them will be inordinate. Most people change their vehicles only every three years or so, and those who have recently bought such a vehicle will be heavily penalised, given the depreciation in value. If the proposal has merit, it should be introduced over a number of years. The proposal will also hit hardest those who are less well off, as they can ill afford to change their vehicle, simply to avoid extra costs.
Further, there seems little evidence of such bad air pollution in Merton that it is vital to introduce this scheme at such speed.
I trust that the Council will defer the introduction of the scheme at this time.
Please acknowledge receipt.
From: Cllr. Ross Garrod (LBM)
To: John Elvidge (RP&WBRA)
Cc: Cllr. Stephen Alambritis
Date: 27th January 2017
Re: Diesel Levy
Thank you for your email that has been passed to me as Cabinet Member responsible for the diesel levy. I have passed your response to the consultation to the Traffic and Highways team so that it can be considered. However, I must advise that it will be considered as an individual response and I would urge you to speak to members of your association to email the traffic and highways department directly should they wish to raise individual concerns about the levy. Please be reminded that the consultation concludes on 3rd February.
Just as a note of background - the proposed introduction of the Diesel Levy is to tackle the issue of air pollution in which the emissions from diesel cars contribute disproportionately. It is estimated that air pollution kills over 9,000 Londoners and will also have a significant impact on the health of many others. I am sure you would agree that this is alarming especially as those exposed to the pollutants would be unsuspecting residents. The issue of air pollution is a top priority for the Mayor of London as the air in particular parts of London is often in breach of regulated levels. This is line with the air quality tests we have undertaken in the borough.
As I am sure you will agree, there is a need to act to tackle this issue and as an authority we have a duty to our residents. The powers open to local authorities to dissuade the use of diesel cars are limited. In fact I would have much rather the Government bring in a scheme to incentivise the scrappage of such vehicles. However, they have consistently demonstrated a lack of willingness to act and in their absence I think as an authority we should do what we can to limit the impact and exposure of these poisonous substances impacting on the health of residents in the borough.
I appreciate the concerns you raise about the introduction being introduced over a number of years and this was raised at a scrutiny meeting by Councillors and as result we have proposed that the levy be introduced over a three year period. The first year will be set at the reduced amount of £90 and by year three it will be £150. This will afford residents two years to prepare before the full priced levy be applicable.
I hope that you have found my email to be helpful and once the consultation closes you will receive further communication from the Traffic and Highways team.