A Green proposal to implement charges in an ultra-low emissions zone would only affect the most polluting vehicles, the party has said.

As part of the party’s manifesto for the local election in Brighton and Hove, the Greens have committed to adding cars to the city’s current ultra-low emissions zone and changing it into a “London-style low emissions zone for all polluting vehicles”.

However, the announcement has provoked concern from some motorists in the city, as well as sparking claims online suggesting the zone could cover the entire city and charge motorists £12.50.

Council leader and leader of the Green group Phelim Mac Cafferty described the claims as “completely untrue” and said: “I would ask people to be guided by the evidence that would be formulated and reports written through the council’s committees”.

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Cllr Mac Cafferty also sought to reassure residents and motorists over the policy and said: “What we need to be clear about is that this is only the most polluting vehicles that we would be talking about.

“Where this has been rolled out in areas such as Birmingham, you use number plate recognition to help identify vehicles and how the tariff system would work with those.”

He also said that the planned “London-style” emission zone, along with other policies outlined by the Green Party, would be “evidence-based”.

The Argus: Plans to charge motorists entering a low emission zone would only affect the most polluting vehicles, the Greens have claimedPlans to charge motorists entering a low emission zone would only affect the most polluting vehicles, the Greens have claimed (Image: The Argus)

Conservatives have slammed the plans as a hammer blow for the city’s tourism.

Anne Meadows, Tory candidate for Patcham and Hollingbury, said: “If visitors are charged to come into the city and they’re charged to park - and we’re not the cheapest in the country, it will be really difficult for us to encourage people to come to Brighton.

“Families do not find it cheaper to come by train and bus - they find it cheaper to come by car.”

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Alistair McNair, who is also standing in the ward for the Conservatives, said that the move might put off residents from travelling into the city centre.

He said: “People here already say they don’t go into the centre of town because it is too expensive, so we could end up having our own residents going to Eastbourne or Worthing instead.”

Voters go to the polls on May 4 to elect 54 councillors from across Brighton and Hove.