My response to the government consultation on “De-carbonizing Transport”


Last Friday, I sent in a just-in-time response to the UK government’s “consultation” on how to “de-carbonize transport.” Or, more simply put, to ban our cars – as quickly as they possibly can.

My response is a 56-page PDF. There’s a lot of detail in there, and some quite strong ideas. So I thought the best way would be simply to put it up on the Internet, and link to it. WordPress, though, had other ideas. It wouldn’t let me link to it, without actually embedding it. So, here it is:

Click to access respcon-200731.pdf

 

The backstory behind the war on cars in the UK


On May 20th, 2019, I gave a talk to the Libertarian Alliance about the damaging political policies being imposed on car drivers in the UK, and the history behind them. Normally, these talks are recorded on video. But on this occasion, an unfortunate combination of circumstances prevented a recording. As this subject is a topical one – and becoming more so by the day – I thought it appropriate to create a “transcript” of the talk, re-constructed from my notes.

Introduction

On April 8th, 2019, London mayor Sadiq Khan’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) went live in the Congestion Charge area in central London. It now costs the driver £12.50 a day, on top of the congestion charge, to drive in this zone a diesel car built before September 2015, or a petrol car built before 2006. This is an outrageous amount; and it also has to be paid at week-ends! This scheme is planned to be extended to all of the area inside North and South Circular Roads in October 2021. And after that, who knows?

Beyond this, there is talk of charging drivers of diesel cars to enter any of 35 or so cities around the UK. Some cities, like Southampton, have decided not to do this. Others, like Birmingham, are pressing on. Meanwhile, on May 9th the Times began a campaign claiming that “air pollution on the streets is poisoning 2.6 million schoolchildren,” and that this is due to “clogged roads”.

And yet, a recent (May 2nd) Sky News poll showed that more than 50 per cent of a random sample of people in the UK were “unwilling to significantly reduce the amount they drive, fly and eat meat,” either to combat climate change or to protect the environment in a more general sense. This is evidence of a huge disconnect between the political classes and the people!

There is a long backstory behind all this, which not many people seem to be aware of. In the last two years, I’ve managed to pull a lot of this backstory together. So, tonight I’ll bring it out into the open for you. In the process, I’ll identify what I call the Ten Deadly Dishonesties. These are attitudes and ploys that anti-car and other green campaigners have used, many of them more than once, in the course of their political machinations. Continue reading

Diesel fumes: Is the UK’s witch-hunt against diesel cars driven by zealotry and greed, not science?


(Author’s Note: This paper is an example of a relatively new phenomenon; “citizen science.” And citizen science deserves citizen peer review. I would, therefore, greatly appreciate review of this paper by those with the skills to do so; whether or not they live in the UK, or drive diesel cars. Thank you.)

The recent uproar over “toxin taxes” on diesel cars in the UK raises many questions. So, in this (long) essay, I’m going to try to get a handle on how big the cost of pollution from diesel cars really is, and whether the schemes being proposed to ameliorate it are sensible or not. To do that, I’ll try to estimate the so-called “social cost” of particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from diesel cars of different ages in the UK, in pounds per car per year.

If my calculations are right, there is some justification for central London pollution charges for diesel cars built before 2006; for, as I work it out, the social cost of the pollution from these cars is almost £300 per car per year. However, the further schemes in London and countrywide, that are planned to start as early as 2019, are out of all proportion to the reality of the problem. They will cost 8 million or so drivers of diesel cars, first registered between January 2006 and August 2015, orders of magnitude more than the social cost of the pollution their cars emit. Worse, these drivers – including me – may be forced to scrap our cars well before the end of their designed lives. Is this not grossly unjust?

According to my calculations, for a diesel car first registered between September 2010 and August 2015, like mine, the London ULEZ entry fees from 2019 for just two days in a year will be almost as much as the social cost of pollution from that car for the whole year, in comparison to a new (since September 2015) car, which won’t be charged at all. That is both unreasonable and unfair. Indeed, for both these cars and those first registered between 2006 and 2010, it would be far better and easier to collect the social cost of pollution through the yearly licence fee.

Continue reading

The GreeNazis don’t really want people to get about


Michael Winning

Over at Englishman’s castle it says that “an environmental group” is saying that “electric cars could increase carbon emissions”. He gives a link, which does not say which group (not the Englishguys fault of course.) I did a bit of devilling and found oout it’s these people here, “Biofuels Digest” whatever that is.

Clearly a little turf war going to go on between the electric-greenies who don’t want us to travel much, and the ethanol-greenies who also don’t want us to travel much. How funny.

You can’t distribute food in any modern sense without motor transport. That means, these days, trucks. Wonder whay I’ve never seen an electric 44-tonne HGV being promoted? Perhaps they want us all to starve and the Boss is right after all.