A controversial new green parking scheme in Croydon which will see all but electric and low-emission cars paying more will be introduced next month.

Charges will depend on how much CO2 cars emit per kilometre, meaning some drivers will pay only £6.50 for an annual resident's permit.

Critics say the plans will unfairly penalise the majority of people, particularly owners of diesel vehicles built before 2001, who will see the cost of their yearly permit rise from £80 to £300.

Mario Creatura, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Central Croydon, said: ‘However honourable the intentions, this is nothing more than a tax on our most vulnerable residents.

"Why? The elderly and disabled, those on low-incomes and those who rely on driving for work will see the cost of their parking permits go up by as much as 275%.

"Most people don’t yet have the latest electric or hybrid model, and if the Council’s goal is to incentivise that then they need to stop taking money out of the pockets of hardworking Croydonians and instead find better, more effective policy solutions to help residents adapt to a low carbon lifestyle.

"We all need to do our bit to help the planet, it is one of the most important challenges of our age, but this policy is a blunt instrument that does nothing but hit the poorest in Croydon, hammering the cost of living when it is already too high.

"Labour need to stop taxing people and starting working with them creatively to save our environment."

A consultation on the scheme received 1,039 objections, equivalent to 10% of the parking permit holders affected.

The traffic management advisory committee approved the policy at its July 24 meeting.

A new category offering a smaller fee for older cars with a small engine size below 1,601cc has been introduced following feedback from residents.

The scheme is part of the council’s wider work to tackle the climate emergency declared earlier this year.

Existing resident permits will remain valid and will only be replaced by the new scheme when they expire over the coming year.

Blue badge holders and companion permit holders will not be affected by the changes.

New charges will also be introduced for business permits, visitor permits and all other permit types next year.

Councillor Stuart King, cabinet lead for environment and transport, said: “More and more people are waking up to the fact that we are facing a climate and ecological emergency.

“Croydon is determined to become more sustainable in every way we can to help meet this global challenge.

“Every year air pollution, principally caused by motor vehicles, contributes to 205 deaths in Croydon and thousands across London. We want to do everything we can to improve air quality and protect the health of our residents.

“Our new green parking scheme is one of a number of steps we are taking to tackle this problem and aims to encourage drivers to reduce their environmental impact.”

Those needing to renew an existing permit will be written to before their current one expires.