The War on the Car Explained

Well known author on motoring subjects James Ruppert has published a very good paper on the subject of The War on the Car. It explains how the irrational attacks on private cars have developed over the years with the latest Net Zero policies exacerbating the trend. Net Zero means absolute zero access to personal transportation. That’s indeed the point: keeping the plebs in their rightful place, namely the bus stop, the author says.

It’s all so unnecessary and is driven by financial motives primarily rather than safety or environmental issues. Indeed Government policies have generally led to unintended negative consequences (such as the promotion of diesel vehicles to reduce CO2 emissions which has had to be reversed).

This paper is certainly worth reading if you want to learn how we got into the current mess. Click here to download:

Roger Lawson


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Oxford Revolt and New Political Parties

It is symptomatic of the public’s disillusionment with local politics in the UK that new political parties are forming. The latest is one in Oxford called the Independent Oxford Alliance (IOA). They have the usual gripe that their elected councillors from the major political parties are not listening to their concerns about the LTNs and other issues. To quote from a report in the Daily Telegraph: “We’ve come to the conclusion that the only way we can change things given that the councils are not listening to residents is to actually change things from within”. In a statement, the party added: “The last straw for many residents has been the disastrous local transport policies imposed on Oxford and the rigged consultations to justify them. IOA believes it is wrong for councils to deliberately cause congestion with LTNs and effectively tax all but the wealthy out of their cars with emission zones and parking charges”.

There was a new party formed in Chislehurst where I live called Chislehurst Matters who won seats at the last council elections based on a manifesto for change – exactly what they wanted was not totally clear.

On the national scene we have the Reform Party who might achieve 10% of votes according to a recent YouGov poll, more than any other of the smaller parties and enough to undermine the Conservative vote.

In all these cases, it is a coalition of disaffected voters supporting the new parties where they think the main Conservative and Labour parties are not representing their concerns, or are pushing policies such as Net Zero Carbon that are increasing their costs and attempting to change their way of life (such as stopping the use of cars to travel).

My view is simple: local politics should be fought on local issues and the public should vote for who they think will represent their views, not on the national party labels.

On other news it is good to see the BBC has “shelved” Top Gear for the foreseeable future. Let us hope it now dies quietly. I suggested on the 12th September that it was overdue to be killed off – see

Roger Lawson


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Sadiq Khan Lied Over Emissions

We all know Sadiq Khan is a consistent liar but a draft report from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) confirms exactly that.  A total of 578 people contacted the ASA to “challenge” TfL (Transport for London) to prove its claims about the impact of the ULEZ, which were broadcast and published between January and June this year. The advertising watchdog’s recommendations state that two complaints about two radio adverts and one in a newspaper should be upheld.


There is no doubt that the information published by TfL and Sadiq Khan prior to the public consultation on expansion of the ULEZ was grossly misleading. The health benefit from expansion of the ULEZ is negligible but the financial cost will be enormous. Costs of £2.7 billion over the last 5 years on TfL charges on motorists have already been incurred which will rise even higher in the next couple of years – see

It’s time we had a new London Mayor who is more financially competent and does not rely on motorists to bail TfL out from reckless mismanagement of public transport finances.  

Roger Lawson


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20 MPH Limits are so Tedious and Unnecessary

Yesterday I drove into central London from my home in Bromley to attend an appointment at Guys Hospital. I regularly drive in as I wish to avoid public transport mainly because I now use a wheelchair and wish to avoid the risk of a Covid infection to which I am vulnerable. So I took the A20 and A2 through Lewisham, New Cross and Deptford.

The whole route now has a 20 mph speed limit once you are in Lewisham. This makes it extremely tedious and is totally unjustified on road safety grounds. The A2 is of course the historic road from London to Dover. It should be a four-lane motorway with a 70 limit but is now reduced to a crawl from the GLA boundary.  

It’s a typical example of how Transport for London (TfL) have destroyed the London road network under the chairmanship of Sadiq Khan in the last few years.

I may have a ULEZ compliant vehicle, exemption from the Congestion Charge as a Blue Badge holder, and free parking at Guys Hospital but when TfL create road congestion through stupid restrictions I end up taking hours on simple journeys.

Many years ago I used to commute into central London via car. Now that is totally impractical due to TfL induced congestion.

Since the 1960s there has been no comprehensive plan to improve London’s road network. That’s why we have horrible air pollution on roads such as the South Circular. Improvement plans are regularly defeated by anti-vehicle lobbyists and by individual councils such as Lewisham and Greenwich by nimby factions.

The UK Government has said it will back motorists who keep our country moving and its plans would include: a review of guidance on 20mph speed limits in England to prevent use in “areas where not appropriate”. Well the whole of London’s A roads should be excluded for a start.

Roger Lawson


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Moving Pollution Up North

I recently traded in my non-ULEZ compliant Jaguar XF for a petrol vehicle. I got a better trade-in price than I expected but it was not a total surprise because I figured that dealers would sell such vehicles in the North of England or Scotland. According to a report in the Telegraph (see link below), that is exactly what has been happening.

Sadiq Khan has just exported London’s air pollution to the rest of the country. Which I am sure they are grateful to receive – NOT. This is what happens when you have an idiot in charge in London who does not consider the unintended consequences of his actions.

Telegraph article:

Roger Lawson


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Bromley Air Pollution, Vehicle Theft and Cars are good for your Health

Latest quote for the Press from the Leader of Bromley Council as posted on Facebook:

Councillor Colin Smith, Leader of Bromley Council said, “I am frankly beginning to feel slightly embarrassed for the Mayor and his desperately repeated claims that Bromley residents are suffering from a higher mortality of premature deaths than any other Borough in the Capital.

“He appears to believe that if you repeat something often enough, it makes it come true. I have to tell you that whilst that might work for him in the very strange world of City Hall, it doesn’t work out here in the real world.

“It really is complete nonsense.”

Councillor Smith continued, “Factually, Bromley is a very healthy borough with a low overall mortality rate.  The fraction of mortality attributable to air pollution in Bromley is actually the 3rd lowest in London.

“Apart from the figures being used actually being guesstimates, based on research commissioned by the Mayors own Team, the researchers chose to ignore Bromley’s much older population profile, to take no account of the fact that many elderly Bromley residents spent the younger years of their lives living in Inner London Boroughs experiencing the smogs and smoke filled pubs and clubs of yesteryear there, where any damage which might have been caused to their lungs would have occurred, or the fact that many elderly folks from out of Borough are drawn to Bromley’s multitude of excellent care homes to be closer to their loved ones for their final years either.

“In summary, Bromley enjoys the second cleanest air in London, very marginally behind Havering. We also have cleaner air than every single Borough already ensnared within the Mayor’s existing ULEZ scheme and even his own scientific projections confirm that extending the ULEZ further out would only add the most marginal of benefits.

“Londoners should remain in no doubt that this is what it looks like. A cynical Tax Raid aimed at the outer London suburbs which front runs the Mayor’s unspoken intention to introduce Road Price Charging for everyone once the camera network has been set in place, very much including families and businesses who have already converted to a Green or Hybrid vehicle.”

Comment: A good summary of the facts re air pollution in outer London boroughs and the lies spouted by Sadiq Khan and TfL.

Attacks on ULEZ enforcement cameras continue although TfL don’t seem to be issuing fines for non-compliant vehicles as yet. Mayoral Reform Party candidate Howard Cox has promised to refund all fines if he gets elected next May. That would be likely to make TfL even more bankrupt than it already is which might make for some difficult decisions.

Other news is that the BrownCarGuy has reported that 17,000 drivers are still paying car tax (VED) on cars that have been stolen. The recovery rate on stolen cars has been falling while thefts have been rising as keyless systems are now very vulnerable. See

Shahzad Sheikh also reported that a Japanese university has established a link between good health in older adults and car ownership: “The latest research from Japan’s Waseda University confirms what we’ve all suspected. Cars are good for your health, especially if you’re elderly! Car ownership for older adults was associated with higher self-rated health status, greater number of years lived in the current municipality, and better working status”. See the full report here

The moral is: keep driving as long as you can and maintain mobility.

Roger Lawson


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The Plan for Drivers

Last week the Government published “The Plan for Drivers”. It starts with the statement: “There’s nothing wrong with driving. Most of us use a car and, for many, life would not be liveable without their car. For those in rural areas, it is a lifeline. A car can hugely expand the independence of a younger person, as well as keep older people connected to key services and their families”. That’s very much the view of this writer. Apart from a few ghettos in central London, where massive expenditure on public transport subsidised by taxpayers, has made it practical to live without a car, most of the country need to use cars.

This new document is clearly a tilt to electoral popularity in the party conference season. In it Mark Harper, Transport Minister, says “Used appropriately and considerately, the car was, is, and will remain a force for good. It is not right that some drivers feel under attack. This long-term plan will address key elements of those concerns. We will explore options to stop local councils using so-called ‘15-minute cities’, such as in Oxford, to police people’s lives; we will restrain the most aggressively anti-driver traffic management measures. We will make it clear that 20mph speed limits in England must be used appropriately where people want them – not as unwarranted blanket measures. We will take steps to stop councils profiting from moving traffic enforcement”.

Is this the end of the “war on the driver” as some people call recent anti-car policies? The answer is possibly. But it needs more than just fine words to halt the war. Many of the negative policies have been supported by local councillors and elected mayors such as Sadiq Khan in London using legislation enacted by central Government that gives them the powers to do so. Those powers need removing and as their motives are often financial so those incentives must be removed.

There are many legal changes required to stop a small minority of local politicians imposing their irrational views on the rest of us. There need to be referendums on any proposed new regulations on vehicles and driving. And petitions to invoke referendums on existing ones.

The Plan for Drivers:

Roger Lawson


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Rishi Sunak Speech and 20 mph Limits in London

Rishi Sunak’s speech at the close of the Conservative Party Conference is surely to be welcomed by all those who use our roads and want rational economic decisions to be taken. It included this statement on HS2: “I am ending this long running saga. I am cancelling the rest of the HS2 project. And in its place we will reinvest every single penny, £36 billion, in hundreds of new transport projects in the North and the Midlands, and across the country. This means £36 billion of investment in the projects that will make a real difference across our country. We’ll help Andy Street extend the West Midlands Metro… Build the Leeds tram, electrify the North Wales main line…Upgrade the A1, the A2, the A5, the M6 and we’ll connect our Union with the A75 boosting links between Scotland and Northern Ireland. We’ll fund the Shipley bypass, the Blyth relief road and deliver 70 other road schemes. We’ll resurface roads across the country”.

So we should be getting some improvements to congested major roads even if money is to be wasted on tram systems which are rarely justified on a cost/benefit ratio.

Meanwhile in London Sadiq Khan is putting up two fingers to the Government’s commitment to halt irrational 20 mph speed limits. Transport for London (TfL) will introduce 65km of new 20mph speed limits within the Royal Borough of Greenwich, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Lewisham, Southwark, Wandsworth, Merton, Bromley and Lambeth. The new speed limits will be introduced in stages over the last four months of the year.

TfL is also working with the Met Police to increase their capacity to take enforcement action against drivers and riders who speed. They are currently on track to be able to take action on a million speeding offences by 2024/5, to provide a more effective deterrent to speeding.

A 20mph limit will be introduced on sections of the following roads:

A232: West Wickham High Street (scheme to go live in September)

A205: St John Wilson Street, Well Hall Road (scheme to go live in October)

A4: Cromwell Road, Brompton Road (scheme to go live in October)

A3220: Pembroke Road, Holland Road, Warwick Road, Redcliffe Gardens (scheme to go live in October)

A20: Eltham Road, Lee High Road, Lewisham Way (scheme to go live in November)

A202: Queens Road, Peckham High Street, Camberwell Church Street, Camberwell New Road (scheme to go live in December)

A2: New Cross Road, Old Kent Road (scheme to go live in December)

A201: New Kent Road (scheme to go live in December)

A100: Tower Bridge Road (scheme to go live in December)

A200: Jamaica Road (scheme to go live in December)

A3: Clapham Road, Kennington Park Road (scheme to go live in December)

A3204: Kennington Lane (scheme to go live in December)

A203: Stockwell Road (scheme to go live in December)

A23: Camberwell New Road, Streatham Hill, Streatham High Road (scheme to go live in December)

A214: Tooting Bec Road (Scheme to go live in December)

A24: Clapham Common South Side, Balham High Road, Upper Tooting Road, High Street Colliers Wood (scheme to go live in December)

A205: Woolwich Common, South Circular Road, Catford Road, Stanstead Road, London Road, Thurlow Road, Christchurch Road, Poynders Road, Dulwich Common (scheme to go live in December)

Comment: This is an irrational and unjustified attack on drivers. Speed of traffic has already been considerably reduced in recent years in London with no obvious impact on road casualties.

Rishi Sunak speech in full:

TfL Press Release:


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Ludricous Costs of HS2 – HS2 or a Free Rolls-Royce?

The Government seems likely to “pause” the continuation of HS2 to Manchester. In other words after a face-saving period of time it will be scrapped. I have repeatedly warned about the cost of this project – originally estimated to be £56 billon but due to cost escalation more likely to now be £100 billion. That’s about £15,000 for every man, woman and child in the country.

Personally I am never likely to travel by train to Birmingham or Manchester (I have not in the last 70 years despite living in both London and Birmingham) so I object strongly to my taxes being spent on this project

Only relatively few people will regularly use the line so the cost per user is much higher. To put it another way, if instead of building HS2 we spent the money on providing a new Rolls-Royce car to everyone who asked, we could provide over 300,000 vehicles at nil cost to the customers. That’s more than enough to cover the likely regular users of the line.

The other problem with this project is the poor benefit/cost ratio which now seems likely to be negative. This is what I wrote in August 2018: “Back in 2013, the benefit/cost ratio of HS2 was calculated by the Government to be 2.3. What it is now, after a major escalation in costs, is not at all clear. But it seems that the only justification for continuing with it is the possible boost to the economy that might be needed if a “hard” Brexit is the outcome.

Surely this is another project that should be canned sooner rather than later, simply because there are better things to spend the money on – and that includes not just railway lines.

It is of course fortunate that we have some benefit/cost information on the above two projects [HS2 and Rotherhithe Bridge]. TfL (and the Mayor of London) now often fail to provide such information. Figuring out whether the ULEZ scheme is worth doing for example is not easy. But in reality it’s wildly negative – see

It is unfortunately a symptom of the modern trend to make major public policy decisions on irrational grounds. They just need to sound appealing to a few segments of the population (preferably those who might vote for the politicians backing the proposals), when economics should be the key decision basis”.

What I said then still holds true today.

Roger Lawson


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The War on the Motorist and New A20 Speed Limit

It has been widely reported that Rishi Sunak is to announce new motorist-friendly policies that might inhibit the introduction of more LTNs, restrict more 20 mph speed limits and times of bus lanes might be relaxed. On BBC Radio Manchester he argued that prioritising driving was the best policy as the vast majority of journeys are made by car. He has that right at least so why are we spending billions of pounds on HS2 which will be used by very few people? It should surely be scrapped.

Mark Harper, Transport Minister, said this on Twitter: ”Too often the private car is vilified by Labour politicians and sneered at by the metropolitan bubble, when it has been one of the most powerful forces for personal freedom & economic growth”. But will this fine rhetoric which will no doubt be lapped up at the Conservative Party Conference this week be followed up by action to control local councillors who introduce silly speed limits. Or Sadiq Khan in London or Mark Drakeford in Wales (petition against default 20 limit in Wales now has more than 450,000 signatures but is still being ignored!).

More details in this Government statement:

If the Conservatives follow through on this agenda it will certainly win them some votes.

A20 Speed Limits

Meanwhile the latest imposition of an unreasonable speed limit has been imposed in the last few days on the A20 between Crittalls Corner in Sidcup and the BP service station/McDonalds before the Swanley M25 junction (eastbound only). The speed limit has been reduced to 40 from 70 and signs for average speed cameras put up and 40 repeater signs also so presumably this is a permanent change. It is unknown why this change has been made although it has been suggested that it is due to road flooding which requires some work on the road which may not be done until May 2024. However it is a ridiculously low speed limit for such a dual-carriageway.

The country is grinding to a halt because of unreasonable speed limits which will mean enormous numbers of drivers will get fines even when driving at safe speeds.


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