First the UK government taxes vehicles based on their carbon-dioxide emissions, now, it’s testing a ‘spy’ camera that can determine which cars are the heavy polluters so that it can charge them for entering proposed 'Low Emission Zones'. The new camera can scan up to 3,000 vehicles per hour and uses a laser system to detect emissions in less than a second. If a vehicle doesn’t meet the Ministry of Transport emission limits a fine of up to $200 would potentially be issued.

The Accuscan 4600 laser system is already in use in 16 American state. The UK is not the only country considering such technology. Governments in Australia are also proposing to buy the £280,000 (US$575,000) scanners, reports the UK Daily Mail. Heavy particulates emitted by diesels can also be detected as well as poisonous materials such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide.

The first units in the UK will be tested in London’s first Low Emission Zone that will come into effect in February next year, and if successful will spread to other local authorities across Britain in coming years. Of course, that's just a nice way of getting it approved slowly. Between the congestion charge, the new number-plate car tracking plan revealed yesterday, and today's announcement, it seems the British motorist is being hunted from all angles.