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Charges expected to roll out in 2020 could see diesel drivers being faced with a £12.50 charge for entering city centres.

This new scheme is part of the Government’s bid to reduce levels of the pollutant nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which official figures claim is responsible for 23,500 deaths a year in Britain, and has led to soaring rates of respiratory illnesses in children. A further 29,000 deaths a year are thought to be caused by sooty particles also produced by diesel vehicles.

The charges are set to affect diesel vehicles entering parts of London, Birmingham, Leeds, Derby, Nottingham and Southampton.

AA spokesman Paul Watters branded the proposals ‘unworkable’. He said: “We obviously need cleaner air, but we need to address it in a much more mature way and work towards these goals, rather than just saying “We’ll ban diesels”.

However, it is not all doom and gloom for diesel motorists as the Government has said ‘Diesel vehicles that meet Europe’s 2015 emissions standards will not have to pay the charge.’