Today (the 29th August 2023), the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) has been extended to the whole of Greater London. This is unjustified on the scientific evidence of the miniscule benefit to air pollution and improved population health but it will cost many Londoners (and those who live in surrounding counties) dearly.
In practice it’s just another tax to support Sadiq Khan’s mismanagement of TfL’s budgets.
How did Sadiq Khan manage to obtain such dictatorial powers that he can impose such wide-ranging taxes without the consent of the people? He did so because central Government were asleep, or distracted by other political issues such as Brexit and a national pandemic.
But the tide is turning as people see how incompetent Khan has been at managing not just London’s transport network but in other areas also such as crime and housing. The only thing Khan has been good at is blaming central Government for his own failings and bribing the electorate with their own money – free transport and free school meals for example paid for out of taxes.
It could of course have been very different if the population had seen Sadiq Khan for what he is – a runt whose politics are all about building his ego and his stature by a relentless power grab.
But the tide is turning. Direct action to remove the ULEZ cameras or damage them is escalating while a serious challenge to Khan’s re-election next May is looming. Just as Ken Livingstone became so hated by his extreme policies that the call was to vote for “anyone but Ken” it will soon become “anyone but Khan”.
On a personal note I concluded that Sadiq Khan was not going to back down on the ULEZ expansion a few months back. He is clearly incapable of compromise and needs the money raised to pay for existing commitments. So I decided to change my ten-year old diesel Jaguar XF for a two year old petrol Jaguar XE. It’s very economical and is of course ULEZ compliant. Hopefully it will last me for many more years of low mileage motoring.
I am of course in the fortunate position of being able to afford to change my car every few years but many people are not. The scrappage scheme is simply a sop that will not significantly help them. Let us hope they remember that next May.
The economics of switching to an electric vehicle did not make sense just yet but it might do in a few years’ time. I am open-minded on the pros and cons of electric vehicles but the high capital cost and low resale values do not make them attractive as yet.
Roger Lawson Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London
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