Parking your Ssangyong Korrando Hardtop four wheel drive wagon with its 2.9 litre, five cylinder engine outside your home is about to become an expensive business in the London borough of Richmond. And the indications are that inner city councils in Australia are about to slug owners of big petrol guzzlers as well.

At a packed meeting at York House in Twickenham this week councillors listened to more than two hours of passionate submissions from members of the public before deciding on parking charges that will see residents in controlled parking zones (CPZs) pay for their permits based on the CO2 emissions of their vehicles. It will mean that owning a monster like the Ssangyong will cost the equivalent of $764 a year to leave in the street.

Cr Serge Lourie, Leader of Richmond Council, said:

Climate change is the defining issue of our age – it is clear that we must all change our behaviour to combat its effects. For our council this is just the first step in a long process that will see us bring forward policies to move our borough and council to lower carbon emissions. I believe that many other councils both in and outside London will now follow our lead. 

I know nine in London alone have already said they will do so. We have also received the support of the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone who has already said he intends to apply similar principles to the central London congestion zone from 2008.

In Australia the North Sydney Council is already leading the way with a scheme to make polluters pay more for residential parking, although the fees are modest compared with those planned for London – from $24 to $88 for the first car.

The Council uses the Federal Government’s Green Vehicle Guide to rate vehicles from having a very low environmental impact to very high.

Of the 1402 cars listed in the Guide, the Ssangyong Korrando comes out worst with the Toyota Prius at the top of the list with the best overall rating.

Peter Fray

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