Motoring groups have reacted angrily to the controversial council plans to subject drivers of "gas-guzzling" cars to higher parking charges.
Owners of larger family cars which emit more than 180 grams of C02 will now pay up to 25% more, up to £1.90 an hour, to park at a meter in plans by the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames council.
The plans are an extension of a current C02 parking scheme in Richmond, which varies the cost of parking permits based on carbon emissions. The council predicts that 40% of its residents will be forced to pay the increased charge in the new scheme.
Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said climate change was a global issue, and not a matter for local government.
He said: "This is a global problem, not a local one, and having one borough doing its own thing just causes confusion.
"Richmond is only one of 33 councils in London, and motorists shouldn't have to learn a brand new system every time they enter a new borough."
Under the proposals, owners of greener cars who register for a smart card would avoid paying the increased rate. But owners of the greenest cars, such as the hybrid Toyota Prius, will automatically qualify for a 25% discount in parking permits and charges.
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