Diesel vehicle users could be charged up to £20 a day in towns and cities across the UK under new air quality measures expected to be introduced later this week.

Environment secretary Andrea Leadsom is expected to announce the rules, which are believed to include 35 towns and cities.

According to the Sunday Times, the 10 worst-affected cities could see diesel vehicle bans, including private cars and vans, in peak times and/or daily charges for entering the areas.

In the remaining locations it is believed HGVs and coaches will be the main focus of the rule changes.

Local authorities will be expected to implement and regulate the new Defra rules.

A source at Whitehall told The Sunday Times: “There will be different ways of proceeding for different authorities. This is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Some need a tweak, some need more rigid plans.”

In London, Sadiq Khan is expected to officially announce this week that in addition to the new T Charge taking effect in October, the most polluting vehicles will need to pay a daily charge of £12.50 to enter Greater London as of 2019.

Dover MP Charlie Elphicke said it was “wrong to demonise diesel drivers”.

He added: “Many drivers feel they were encouraged to buy diesel by the last Labour government. Punishing them with extra taxes is deeply unfair.”