RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “We have been saying that central Government needs to take a lead on helping local authorities manage air quality issues caused by oxides of nitrogen that can be harmful to health.
“This Government’s air quality consultation addresses many of our main concerns around demonising diesel cars as it recognises the contributions of all sources of nitrogen dioxide, not just cars which generally contribute less than buses and lorries.
“It also takes a tiered approach and targets only those areas where existing measures will not deliver the required improvements. Very positively, it proposes a framework for clean air zones to ensure a consistency of approach, thereby discouraging ill-informed knee-jerk reactions such as that of Islington Council with its £96 annual surcharge for residents with diesel vehicles.
“If implemented sensibly the proposals will make a valuable difference to local air quality but the big question is whether central government will be able to require local authorities to stick to the framework?”