A new green parking scheme which favours low-emission cars and penalises older vehicles has been introduced in Croydon.

Under the new scheme residents’ annual parking permits are charged on a sliding scale depending on how polluting their vehicle is, with some drivers paying as little as £6.50.

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

Councillor Stuart King, cabinet lead for environment and transport, said: “Across Croydon, London and the rest of the globe communities are waking up to the dangers of pollution both to our planet and our health.

“In Croydon air pollution contributes to 205 deaths every year and this new scheme is one of the ways we want to do our bit to tackle this challenge.”

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 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.