Diesel drivers will still have to pay a surcharge on their resident parking permits after calls to delay the scheme were rejected.

Brent Council voted against proposals to halt the programme, which were put forward by the Conservative opposition.

Cllr Michael Maurice, who brought the motion, called the surcharge “unfair” and said it was particularly “unpalatable” for those with diesel vehicles complying with the Mayor of London’s ultra-low emissions zone.

He added most pollution comes from “the biggest vehicles”, such as buses and trucks, and said those simply driving through Brent will not have to pay extra.

He questioned how diesel vehicles used by the council, which will not be replaced until 2023, could be exempt from the surcharge and suggested any measures on diesel-driving residents be put on hold until this time.

Labour councillors pointed out it is important to do something about improving air quality in the borough, including addressing the issue of car fumes.

“Charging motorists is not a step we take lightly,” said Cllr Krupa Sheth, responsible for the environment at Brent Council.

“Thousands of Londoners are dying prematurely every single year due to the city’s toxic air.

“This isn’t a case of preserving the status quo, we have a moral duty to do more, much further and much faster, so that Brent’s children have the best possible start in life.”

She added that other, Conservative-run councils in London are adopting similar methods and questioned why the opposition group had chosen not to mention this.

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 a year later.

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 people make the move to electric.