Diesel drivers are being charged more to park their cars as councils try to tackle pollution and improve air quality.

Brent Council has imposed a £50 surcharge on those who drive diesel cars and have resident parking permits in the borough.

This fee will increase to £75 in April and will jump to £100 next year.

The council said the measures are intended to encourage diesel drivers to switch to more environmentally friendly modes of transport.

Cllr Krupa Sheth, responsible for environment at Brent Council, said: “We must confront the inconvenient truth that pollution is having a detrimental impact on our health and the health of our planet.

“Charging motorists is not a step we take lightly, but we have a duty to protect our residents from toxic air pollution.

“Other options are available, and we want to incentivise people to make greener travel choices.”

According to the council, diesel cars produce four times more nitrogen dioxide and 20 times more particulate matter than petrol cars.

It is also estimated 200 people die prematurely each year in the borough as a result of air pollution.

The government is keen to reduce the number of diesel and petrol cars on the UK’s roads, with their sales set to be banned by 2040.

But campaigners have warned there needs to be viable alternatives and clear incentives to ensure that people make the move to electric.

Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at motoring organisation RAC, said “significant barriers” such as upfront costs and charging infrastructure are putting people off making the switch.

He explained the entire system, at a national and local level, needs to be tailored to achieve this.

“We would like to see a much more ambitious programme to roll out charging infrastructure in more locations, including within new housing developments, at shopping centre car parks and on-street,” he said.

In Brent, more than 50 people made requests for electric charging points in residential streets.

The council is following a programme devised by Transport for London, which is seeing electric car charging points (lamp columns) installed in the borough.

Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, said: “I think this will have a major impact and it underlines our commitment to improving the environment in Brent.”