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BMWX5The gas guzzling cars driven in the west London spiritual home of the “Chelsea tractor” are the most polluting in Britain, official figures reveal today.

The 44,732 cars registered in Kensington & Chelsea belch an average of 177.7 grams of carbon dioxide for every kilometre driven, far higher than the London average of 163.5 grams.

The data – obtained from the DVLA through a Freedom of Information request – also reveal that more than a quarter of cars in the country’s most affluent local authority area exceed the 200g/km level.

This is threshold of the three highest vehicle tax bands for the most polluting cars including the Land Rover Defender, Porsches, Ferraris and the BMW X5.

Other wealthy central London boroughs where residents are more likely to afford sports cars or large SUV 4x4s also appeared near the top of the list. The City of Westminster was second with 173.6g followed by City of London on 168.4g.The least polluting cars are driven in more suburban areas with Hillingdon at the bottom of the league table.

Its 142,455 cars only emitted 152.9 grams of the gas linked with global warming and climate change.

Fewer than 10 per cent of the borough’s cars fall into the tax brackets for the most polluting cars, according to the data, which was obtained by mapping software company Esri UK.

Simon Birkett, Founder and Director of campaign group Clean Air in London, said: “These numbers show that Boris’ ‘car is king’ policy has protected his richest friends driving gas guzzlers.

“But we don’t need to punish people just because they want a big car sitting in the driveway.  Instead we need Emissions-Based Road Charging that hammers or bans those wanting to drive large diesel cars, long distances in the most polluted parts of London at the busiest times of day.

“The next Mayor must embrace smart charging as better, fairer and essential to get London moving and clean its air.”

Charles Kennelly, chief technology officer at Esri UK, said: “This map shows car emissions across the capital, showing an interesting correlation between pollution levels per car and wealth.”

The figures were released as a survey showed that most Londoners still rank the cost of buying and running a car as more important than its impact on the environment. More than half of those surveyed said a car’s “green” credentials were the least important factor in choosing their vehicle.

Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association, which commissioned the survey, said it had “brought to light a worrying statistic with regards to vehicle emissions.

“We expected to find emissions at the forefront of the consumers mind however this is clearly not the case.

“We will endeavour, through our members, to help educate the consumer of the importance of vehicle emissions as well as cheap running costs.”

Posted by Sue Robinson on 01/04/2016