From 2020 drivers of all but the most efficient diesel cars and older petrol cars will be charged an additional £10 a day to use the London roads they already pay road tax and a ‘congestion charge’ to travel on. Boris Johnson is bringing in the new levy in response to EU pressure to further reduce emissions. The unelected EU commission launched legal proceedings against Britain in February.

Elsewhere, Labour is planning a network of low-emission zones that would force older diesel vehicles out of many cities. Sheffield, Leicester, Bradford, Leeds, Birmingham, Bristol and 14 other cities are considering bringing in the zones to cope with poor air quality.

The area will have the same boundaries as the Congestion Charge zone, and only diesel vehicles that meet the stringent Euro 6 emissions standard will be exempt from the charge. The threat of heavy fines for breaches of air pollution rules, set by the unelected European Commission, have driven the new initiatives to cut diesel use.

Petrol cars registered before 2006 will also have to pay.

Where’s the evidence that traffic emissions are so harmful? Vehicle use has massively increased since WW2 and life expectancy has massively increased too. This looks like a hefty tax on daily life and a way to force people to spend big on a new car. There is a huge glut of unsold new cars sat on disused airfields worldwide at the moment. Are we seeing the effect of behind closed doors lobbying of the EU commissars?

I suspect that lung cancer rates aren’t falling with the drop in cigarette smoking and vehicle emission diesel particulates are going to get the blame next.

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