New taxes planned for motorists in the UK, which aim to reduce emissions by forcing owners of heavy polluting vehicles to pay extra in registration costs, have been criticized as being just another source of revenue for the government and for having little to no effect on reducing emissions. The new ‘green levy’, set to roll in next year, will increase revenues by £2.5 billion ($5 billion) but will only reduce vehicle emissions by less than 1% according to the UK Treasury’s own figures.

The new scheme would see owners of cars emitting more than 255g of CO2/km pay £425 ($865) per year to register their vehicle in 2009 and up to £950 ($1,934) per year in 2010 onwards. Currently, vehicles that emit more than 225g/km pay the maximum tax of £300 ($610) a year.

Some of the cars falling in the top category include large family sedans and people-carriers as well as a number of older diesel models such as the compact Ford Focus and Renault Espace. About nine out of ten cars are expected to be taxed more heavily from next year.

Speaking with The Telegraph, shadow Treasury minister Justine Greening described the tax as a “massive hike” that will have no impact on the environment.

This mimics earlier criticisms of London’s new congestion charge, which was found to have hadly any effect on the city’s traffic and emissions levels.