Drivers of diesel cars could have to pay more in road tax or face additional levies to travel into city centres in an effort to tackle pollution, it is reported.

Major cities around the UK are considering bringing in low emission zones to force out older diesel vehicles that are responsible for higher levels of fumes, The Times said.

Almost all diesel vehicles driven into central London will trigger a £10 charge under plans being considered by mayor Boris Johnson, who will also reportedly lobby the Government to increase road tax on diesel cars to encourage motorists to move to cleaner vehicles.

The £10 fee, which would come into effect in 2020, would be on top of the congestion charge, forcing diesel drivers to pay at least £20 to drive into the capital's "ultra low emission zone", the newspaper said.

Only diesel vehicles meeting the Euro 6 emissions standard will be exempt, while petrol cars registered before 2006 will also have to pay.

Labour is reportedly planning a countrywide network of low emission zones to force older diesel cars from city centres, proposals which are being considered by more than 15 cities including Sheffield, Birmingham and Bristol. Oxford has already introduced a zone for buses and may expand its plans for other vehicles.

The initiatives are being considered to help meet European regulations on clean air and avoid the threat of heavy fines for breaching them.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that unless action was taken, London, Birmingham and Leeds would face dangerous levels of pollution from vehicle exhausts by 2030.

Mr Johnson is expected to outline plans today that will take London two thirds of the way to complying with EU rules, The Times said.

The mayor's environment adviser, Matthew Pencharz, told the newspaper: "We want to see an unwinding of incentives that have driven people to diesel. Euro engine standards on emissions have not delivered the savings expected, meaning we now have a legacy of a generation of dirty diesels."