Residents who drive diesel cars could have to pay up to five times as much to park in Bath as those with the cleanest vehicles under new proposals.
Bath and North East Somerset Council transport bosses are looking at introducing a sliding scale of charges for parking permits based on carbon dioxide emissions.
They are also considering higher prices for long-stay parking and new Sunday charges to discourage people from driving or even owning cars unless they have to.
Under the proposals, the baseline fee for a residents’ permit would be £100, which would be cut to £50 for the lowest emission vehicles.
Vehicles from before 2001 with a three-litre engine or bigger would be charged double the baseline amount, plus another £50 if they run on diesel in a bid to cut nitrogen dioxide levels.
The same multiplier effect would apply to residents with a second vehicle, but with a baseline fee of £160.
The fees would apply across Bath and North East Somerset and could earn the council an extra £135,000 a year.
They are being proposed ahead of the March 2021 launch of Bath’s clean air zone, which will charge the worst polluting vehicles, but not privately owned cars.
The free on-street parking on Sundays could also come to an end as the hourly charges are raised over the next three years.
The proposals say the council does not want to undermine the park and ride services that previously only operated Monday to Saturday.
The charges, which would only apply when the park and ride buses are running, are expected to bring in an additional £85,000 in the first year.
The council wants to end the abuse of permits issued to hotels – which can reportedly earn up to £2,600 a year on an £80 permit by charging guests daily to use them – and medics, who use theirs for cheap commuter parking. Paper permits would be swapped for digital alternatives to tighten the controls.
Over the next three years, the cost of permits that residents can give to visitors are also set to double to £2 per day, with half-day paper permits introduced for vulnerable residents, while the 10 per cent discount residents get for using MiPermit will be removed.
If backed by councillors Neil Butters and Joanna Wright, the joint cabinet members for transport, the changes to the charges would be subject to a full consultation.
Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter