A clean air campaigner has praised an emissions-based parking scheme that will see some diesel car owners paying £1.2K a year.

Jemima Hartshorn, the founder of Mums for Lungs, a campaign group against toxic air, has claimed she would like to see more schemes targeting highly polluting diesel vehicles across London.

Hackney Council recently announced parking measures that penalise drivers with the most polluting cars.

For example, an annual estate parking permit in the borough for the most polluting diesel vehicle will cost £213 this year, but rise to £1,249 by 2029-30 – an almost sixfold increase.

Jemima said taking diesel vehicles off the roads was one of the most important ways government and councils can tackle the problem of toxic air.

Mums for Lungs claims that research conducted by advocacy group Environmental Defense Fund shows diesel is the single biggest contributor to nitrogen oxides on our roads.

Independent not-for-profit The International Council on Clean Transportation published a report earlier this year that suggested a large number of new diesel vehicles showed “suspicious” levels of nitrogen oxides.

Jemima claimed this showed that even newer diesel cars are still “madly polluting”.  

She said: “I think we need to make sure that individuals who are driving, especially in an inner-London borough such as Hackney, which has public transport and incredibly high pollution levels, get onto the cleanest choice of travel that is suitable for them.”

Jemima added: “We know that air pollution is obviously linked to breathing issues, but it’s also linked to cardiac issues, it is linked to cancers, and it is linked to diabetes – air pollution is a poison”.

The mum, who lives in Southwark, has herself experienced the dangerous impact toxic air can have, especially on children.

During a high pollution episode in London last summer, her daughter, aged three at the time, was hospitalised after a bout of wheezing.

Jemima said: “We know that a quarter of a million children in London have asthma and that comes at a huge human and financial cost to all of us, but primarily to the families of those children affected.

“[My daughter] is quite petite, and she couldn’t walk – I had to take her to A&E in the pram.

“She was admitted [to hospital] twice – once overnight – and it is the scariest thing you can imagine.”