Pre Euro5 diesel-powered vehicles are facing higher annual parking permits in major cities amid concerns over their effect on air quality.

Kensington and Chelsea council will impose a £15 surcharge on parking permits on such diesels from this month, with other councils thought to be watching the experiment closely.

A council spokesman said: “Historically, diesels, while better on CO2 emissions, have tended to be rather worse than petrol engines of similar size in relation to local air pollutants such as particulates and nitrogen dioxide. In Kensington and Chelsea there is a problem with local air quality.”

Euro5-compliant diesels have had the surcharge removed because “the latest generation of diesels have narrowed the gap in terms of those local pollutants”.

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