Gareth Bacon, MP for Orpington in South East London made several good points. He said his constituents quite rightly saw the ULEZ as a “tax-grabbing scheme to fill the holes in Transport for London’s finances”. He pointed out that the public consultation was manipulated by the Mayor and hundreds of cameras were ordered even before the consultation was launched.
It’s well worth reading what was said in the debate which highlighted the costs being imposed on many people who live in outer London when the impact on air pollution will be negligible.
Expanding the ULEZ scheme in London is not about improving health or the environment, it’s about generating cash for the Mayor. This was reinforced by an article published by the BBC today which reports that the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) generated more than £224m last year. That will increase substantially from August 29th when the ULEZ is expanded.
Data obtained by the BBC has found that roughly a third of the money came from penalty charge notices (PCNs), with the rest from daily charge payments. Transport for London (TfL) says the money is used to cover “set-up costs” for the ULEZ expansion and “running and improving” the rest of the network.
Through data obtained via a freedom of information request, the BBC has found ULEZ generated £224,633,003 in 2022, an average of £18.7m a month. Money came in through two streams: daily charges and PCNs.
It emphasises the importance of registering for the Autopay system to ensure you don’t forget to pay (see https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/auto-pay ) which generally works well even if you live outside London and only visit occasionally.
Sadiq Khan may get kicked out of office, lose the judicial review going through the courts or have his cameras destroyed by vigilantes opposed to the scheme but no need to rely on that happening in the short-term.
It is very difficult to see how the way the Mayor misled people can be adjudged to be a fair public consultation. But Sadiq Khan is clearly putting a lot of effort into persuading people that the expansion is necessary on public health grounds when it is not.
Ian Armstrong has posted the following article on a public Facebook Group:
Six petitions you should support to put pressure on Parliament to prevent motorists being used as a cash cow by the Local Councils/London Mayor/London Assembly/TFL – click, sign and share with family/friends/neighbours/etc
1. Prevent local authorities implementing road charging schemes by repealing part 3 of the Transport Act 2000 – local authority should not be permitted to generate revenue from motorists to fund other policies
4. Independent review of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) – these are the stepping stones to 15-minute cities and must be challenged as they are being imposed against the will of the majority using cherry picked and flawed assessment or modelling data as a justification
These are all U.K. parliament petitions – they take a minute or two each to sign – you can click on the map link on the petition page to see your constituency
Please sign all 6 to try and get them all to 100k ASAP.
Note that the Sunday Times published a good article recently on Why Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are a Policy Disaster by Andrew Ellson. To quote from it: “How have we got into this mess? The answer is complex but it boils down to cycling enthusiasts such as Boris Johnson and Andrew Gilligan being in charge of policy at national level and well-funded cycling lobbyists capturing policy at local level”.
These policies were promoted by people who knew little about traffic engineering and the history of misguided road safety initiatives with the unintended consequences that we now suffer from.
Hopefully with Boris Johnson retiring in disgrace we may see less of him and his enthusiasms. Let us hope he does not put himself forward as a candidate for Mayor of London next year which would split the Conservative vote!
He may have been a great promoter of Brexit, which I wholeheartedly supported, but in other regards he was a divisive personality and clearly untrustworthy.
I mentioned in a previous blog post that I was considering the purchase of a new car. Easier said than done.
I talked to the local Jaguar dealer but they have few second-hand cars in stock and if you want a new XF they are still making them but there is a 6 month to a year delivery time (and no guarantee on the time).
Arranging a demonstration of other vehicles seems difficult also. Searching Auto Trader for a fairly new low mileage Jaguar does not help either, particularly if you want one that is not a black colour and not located at the other end of the country.
I might have to look at a BMW instead.
This apparently is a problem for many makes partly due to semi-conductor shortages and a shortage of second-hand vehicles.
You can see why Jaguar are in some difficulty. Product range now focussed on very expensive electric SUVs and not reasonably priced petrol or hybrid vehicles. They seem unable to produce vehicles that people want to buy!
The stock market is quiescent and it is time to ponder questions such as should I buy more BP shares and should I buy an electric or hybrid car? There is an article in the FT today on the rejection of resolutions focussed on climate change at the ExxonMobil and Chevron annual meetings. It said: “shareholders solidly rejected climate change proposals at the US oil majors’ annual meetings on Wednesday, scaling back support from last year and splitting with results at peers in Europe where resolutions related to global warming have won stronger support. Only 11 per cent of Exxon shareholders supported a petition calling for the company to set emissions reduction targets that would be consistent with the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. A similar proposal at Chevron received less than 10 per cent support”. See FT article here: https://www.ft.com/content/7faccadc-beef-4b10-be53-ae7aceaeafce
Resolutions on this subject at the BP and Shell AGMs were similarly defeated even though many institutional holders like to promote their green credentials.
Individual shareholders need to make up their own minds on how to vote on whether to put companies like BP and Shell out of business by stopping their oil development activities. Both BP and Shell argue for a transition to renewable energy at a pace acceptable to their customers and which does not impose unreasonable short-term costs and I agree with them. The transition to renewable energy for many purposes may make sense but for transportation carbon fuels have a very high energy intensity and the infrastructure to support electric vehicles means a high loss in the transmission system.
I have a pressing personal decision to make on this issue. My diesel-powered Jaguar XF is almost ten years old now and I like to buy a new car when they have done more than 60,000 miles as they get more unreliable and expensive to maintain after that. I don’t do many miles now so a somewhat smaller car might make some sense. But should it be an electric vehicle, a hybrid or a petrol/diesel one?
I think a hybrid is the best bet and have booked a test drive of a Toyota Corolla. They are self-charging hybrids but can only run a short distance on battery power so I am betting that petrol will be readily available for at least the next ten years.
I am surprised that Jaguar are still selling XF models but they do now have a petrol option and a “sportbrake” version which probably shows how well liked the car is but I fear that diesel will be discouraged by regulation soon.
They do sell all-electric models now but they are expensive and are bulky SUV style cars when I prefer smaller vehicles. Note that the environmental benefits of electric cars over petrol ones are quite marginal if you take the all-in lifetime environmental impact costs into account and the latest scare is that the heavier weight of electric vehicles is causing damage to our roads – thus explaining why there are so many potholes in our roads of late. The weight of current electric batteries is becoming a major problem while the production and recycling of batteries is a negative aspect not yet confronted.
Electric cars are cheaper than they used to be but they either have limited range or are expensive (£43,000 to £58,000 for a Tesla Model 3 for example, or over £70,000 for a Jaguar I-Pace).
Readers of this article can suggest alternatives for me to look at. Use the comment box below.
I could of course hold on to my current vehicle for another few years in the hope that Sadiq Khan changes his mind on the ULEZ expansion (my Jaguar XF is not compliant) or is not elected again next May. There are several strong contenders lining up to take him on. But I do so few miles within the ULEZ area (current and future) that it does not bother me much what the Mayor decides to do. Whatever he decides he is bound to be wrong based on his past decision record.
Sadiq Khan has published a book entitled Breathe. It is partly biographical and partly a polemic about air pollution and climate change.
He explains how he became interested in air pollution in London after training for the London marathon and developing “late-onset” asthma. He blames it solely on London’s poor air quality in the streets on which he trained.
He also covers the case of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah but misreports what the coroner said about the cause of her death. Air pollution was probably a contributory factor as she lived near the South Circular which is very heavily polluted but certainly not the sole cause.
He also makes inaccurate comments about the Blackwall Tunnel suggesting that the bends in the tunnel were designed so that horses did not bolt for the exit when they saw the daylight. I have seen this allegation about the Rotherhithe Tunnel which also has sharp bends but I doubt it is true. Wikipedia says the Blackwall tunnel has bends in order that the tunnel could align with Northumberland Wharf to the north and Ordnance Wharf to the south, and avoid a sewer underneath Bedford Street.
The book attempts to link air pollution to action on climate change but does not provide any evidence to support that. Indeed the book is short on supporting data and is hardly a scientific exposition of the issues.
Neither does Sadiq Khan look at the economic cost of his policies and why a lot of the justification was the need to bail out TfL by raising taxes via such schemes as the ULEZ. He claims that the ULEZ had a major impact on the air pollution in London while ignoring the impact of central Government policies, the improvements to vehicles and the impact of the pandemic on reducing traffic.
But he does explain how scaring the population by emphasising the negative health impacts of air pollution has helped him to win election.
On the issue of LTNs, he alleges that the vocal public opposition has been stimulated by hostile media while arguing the bulk of residents support them. How wrong he is!
He covers his recent alleged heart attack in Glasgow and it’s difficult not to conclude from the length he spends on his medical problems that he is a hypochondriac.
The book will only be of interest to those who want an explanation of how Sadiq Khan got elected as Mayor of London by scaremongering about air pollution and climate change. But he does point out the weaknesses and mistakes of his opponents. Hopefully new candidates can learn from this book.
After the Archbishop of Canterbury was fined for exceeding a 20 mph speed limit on London’s Embankment, we now have Home Secretary Suella Braverman admitting she broke a speed limit when Justice Secretary last summer. Is this a big deal that the media should be fawning over? I don’t think so.
It’s just another example of legislation that has turned speeding offences into a money-making scam by the offer of Speed Awareness Courses by the police.
The 20 mph limits that are spreading over most of London have not been set on any rational, scientific analysis of the benefits of speed limits and their enforcement. All that is happening is that responsible citizens are being prosecuted for trivial offences that have not harmed anyone.
But irrationally lower speed limits just add to the traffic congestion in London and degrade the road network.
Howard Cox has announced that he will be the Reform Party candidate for Mayor of London next May. As the founder of FairFuelUK which has been very active in promoting the interests of motorists, with successful campaigns, he should give Sadiq Khan a good challenge.
Mr Cox has promised to scrap the ULEZ scheme and LTNs. He will certainly get my vote and surely stands a good chance of getting a significant proportion of the votes of Londoners, particularly in outer London.