OWNERS of cars which pollute the atmosphere could face fines in Catalunya, the first Spanish region to consider such plans.

Vehicle owners will be penalised the more their cars or lorries produce greenhouse gas emissions.

The tax is different from current regulations in Catalunya which stipulate owners of older, polluting vehicles must pay once when they purchase the car or lorry.

Cars and motorbikes which produce between 120g -140g of CO2 per kilometre travelled will pay an average of €8.80.

Those which produce 140g and 160g per 1km will pay €17.80 and those whose vehicles produce between 160g and 200g per kilometre will have to pay €38. Vehicles above 200g per 1km must pay €96.

Catalan authorities said most drivers will pay an average of €35 per year.

The new tax will punish car owners every year for as long as they own their vehicles.

Regional authorities claimed the tax, which is due to come into operation in November, would affect 2.3 million vehicles and should raise €67 million every year.

Experts said it was a step in the right direction but did not believe it would significantly reduce pollution.

“It is a good signal that we are on the right road, but I don’t think it will have a significant impact in terms of reducing emissions,” Jordi Roca, a professor of economics at the University of Barcelona, told El País newspaper.

Catalunya tried to bring the tax into force in 2017 but it was halted because of opposition from the then Spanish conservative government which claimed regions could not tax citizens in this way.

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