‘The Analysing Air Pollution Exposure in London’ Report, claims areas of deprivation (lower income) have seen a rise in NO2 levels. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has recently revealed the “Toxin Tax” which will tax owners of diesel vehicles £24 a day. The goal is to reduce the number of diesel vehicles on the road, in turn reducing pollution in the city.

However, it is only diesel cars over a certain age, which is troublesome because it directly targets a certain demographic who would’ve bought this type of diesel car. The older diesel car is still required to pass a MOT, and the bulk of these types of car will be found in less affluent areas.

Areas consisting of families on lower incomes are more likely to own older cars. These are the same cars the government previously advocated as “better for the environment.” Now they’re deemed as bigger polluters and so people in these areas are being encouraged to purchase petrol based cars.

So what are the residents of these areas to do?

They own a vehicle that passed a MOT, of which a new vehicle doesn’t have to. They have maintained their vehicle due to the expense of obtaining a newer car. They have maintained their vehicle within the law. They are now left with purchasing a second-hand petrol car. A petrol car, which may be no newer than the car they own now. A petrol car which is required to pass the same emission standard of their well-maintained diesel car.

As a country, our goal is to have the majority of drivers encouraged to upgrade to sustainable transport, a target of 9% of all vehicles being electric or Ultra-Low Emission by 2020… so how does encouraging people to spend money on the same issue, allow for the vehicle owner to save for their new electric car?

We all know that pollution destroys the environment, and affects our health. What many people may not know is that pollution also reduces business investment. No matter how you vote, everyone can agree pollution is something we all need to work together on.

However, the same people hurt by the growing levels of pollution are the people being asked to shoulder the financial burden of an outdated system.

If we want to save our city we should start taxing those above an economic threshold for owning fossil burning cars — no matter how new the vehicle. They have the means to purchase an electric car and the more electric cars purchased, the higher the demand. Would this upset households on higher incomes? Probably, but if the environment is important enough to tax households and families who are already financially struggling, then it’s important enough to force the economy shapers to change their cars.

Or maybe, just maybe, we scrap the Toxin Tax and find a real, sustainable, solution to fossil fuel.

Demand better. #toxintax