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Air Pollution Is Just A Smokescreen (Excuse The Pun!)

July 28, 2017

By Paul Homewood

The government’s decision to ban sales of conventional petrol and diesel cars from 2040 has generated a lot of debate this week.

The decision has been justified as a way of improving air quality, as well as one to meet climate targets.

The second objective is clear. Jesse Norman, the parliamentary under-secretary at the Department for Transport (DfT) recently confirmed Theresa May’s administration would stick with its pre-election pledge.

In a written answer to the Commons, Mr Norman added: “The Government has a manifesto commitment for almost all cars and vans on our roads to be zero emission by 2050. We believe this would necessitate all new cars and van being zero emission vehicles by 2040.”

Note the term zero emission.

This would imply that even hybrids will be banned by then.

But what about the first objective.

It is not clear how a ban on conventional cars in 2040 will do anything to help air pollution in the next few years, even though it may speed up the development of electric technology eventually.

Surely if the government was serious, it would take action now to switch demand from diesel to petrol. There would be many ways to do this, starting with the tax system.

We are told that:

Ministers have identified 81 major roads in 17 towns and cities where urgent action is required because they are in breach of EU emissions standards, putting people’s health at risk.

It sounds bad, but seriously,just 81 roads? There must be many ways to take immediate action to improve matters on such a small number of roads, and indeed the government has acted to empower local authorities.

Banning all petrol/diesel cars is rather taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut!

Huge improvements in vehicle emissions have taken place in recent years, and will no doubt continue. Would it not make more sense for the government to continue to set tough new targets (along with the power to massively fine cheats like Volkswagen)?

There is no reason why, by 2040, emissions from cars should not be much less than now.

Such improvements will probably be less likely now, as there is now little incentive for car manufacturers to continue to develop conventional cars.

In my view, part of the problem is London. Understandably, air quality is a much bigger issue there. The problem, however, is that most policy makers, politicians, civil servants, “experts” and media operatives live and work there. Consequently they dream up solutions, which they then needlessly apply to the whole country.

We keep hearing claims about “40000 deaths a year from air pollution”. But according to Tony Frew, respiratory physician at the University of Brighton, the claim is nonsense:

 

image

Sadiq Khan’s figure on pollution deaths is a "zombie statistic and it’s simply not true," according to a respiratory physician.

Figures have been released claiming pollution causes almost 40,000 premature deaths a year in the UK. Air pollution is also said to cause a total 340,000 years of lost life in the UK.

Figures originated from a Royal College of Physicians report and Mr Khan has cited the figures in announcing measures to cut pollution in London.

But Tony Frew, respiratory physician at the University of Brighton, told Julia Hartley-Brewer this is merely an example of a "zombie statistic", meaning "however much you try to kill it it comes back and it’s simply not true."

He explained that the 340,000 life years figure doesn’t equate to real life, and in reality each person loses only about three days from their lifespan as a result of pollution.

Frew also said that the 40,000 deaths a year figure is "a guess" using information about two pollutants which overlap.

He added that pollution levels are "illegal because we made it illegal, not because it’s dangerous." 

http://talkradio.co.uk/news/sadiq-khans-40000-pollution-deaths-year-zombie-statistic-and-isnt-true-says-respiratory

 

Euan Mearns also carried a detailed analysis of these claims in a post here.

In fact, many experts are highly dubious of the Royal College’s claim.

As I have pointed out, most people who die from respiratory diseases are very old. Through all of their lives, they will have experienced far, far worse pollution than today, both indoors and outdoors. It is simply impossible to separate the effects of past pollution from present.

Yet, as Frew points out, the emotive claim of 40000 deaths won’t be killed off.

And just how bad is air quality in the UK?

According to government statistics, emissions of Nox and PMs are way down, even since the 1990s.

image_thumb25

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2017/03/07/bbcs-air-pollution-bandwagon/

This will be immediately obvious to anybody old enough to have lived in London, or other cities, a few decades ago.

And in comparison with the rest of the EU, we are on a par with the likes of Germany:

Observed concentrations of PM2.5 in 2014. The map shows the PM2.5 annual mean concentrations. The red and dark-red dots indicate stations with concentrations exceeding the target value (25 μg/m3). The dark green dots indicate stations reporting values below the WHO air quality guidance for PM2.5 (10 μg/m3). Only stations with more than 75 % of valid data have been included in the map

image_large

https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/figures/annual-mean-pm2-5-concentrations

 

Which all brings us back to my introduction. The move to ban all petrol/diesel cars appears to have been largely designed to meet climate targets.

This would have gone down like a lead balloon with the public. So, to sugar the pill, the government has decided to deceitfully employ the air pollution argument.

I will end with a question.

Why should not we leave the decision of which cars to drive to the voters in 2040? What gives us the right to determine that ourselves now?

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54 Comments
  1. Robert Fairless permalink
    July 28, 2017 1:37 pm

    We haven’t got over the folly of the global warming and wood pellets scam when they conjure up an even more stupid idea. The common feature to all their mad schemes is the absolute certainty that they will spend our money with a determined profligacy. They will, of course, enrich themselves by means of fraudulent legislation.

  2. quaesoveritas permalink
    July 28, 2017 1:50 pm

    “This would imply that even hybrids will be banned by then.”
    I saw someone being interviewed on BBC News who said that hybrids would not be banned but unfortunately I don’t know who he was or what level of knowledge he had.
    I will have a look and see if I can find it again.
    Does the French ban include hybrids?
    I seem to recall the BBC saying our ban matched the French one.

    • July 28, 2017 4:59 pm

      Hybrids are not banned from sale in 2040
      And the Times Times Corrections column pg 26 confirmed this today

  3. Joe Public permalink
    July 28, 2017 2:46 pm

    ” ….. in reality each person loses only about three days from their lifespan as a result of pollution.”

    For those wondering what they’d do with the three days of ‘lost’ time:

    Those eco-warriors saving the world by using wood-burners in their yurts won’t recognise the irony.

    • July 28, 2017 6:47 pm

      Careful with that stat ..
      Three days might be just the effect of diesels.
      I think I’ve heard him say 31 days for London.
      The stats are fuzzy and are screwed by treatments getting ever better.
      You can’t just go by the average its is possible that someones respiratory infection is exacerbated and they day 100 days “early” etc.

  4. NeilC permalink
    July 28, 2017 2:59 pm

    “Why should not we leave the decision of which cars to drive to the voters in 2040?”

    Shouldn’t your question read, why shouldn’t we leave the decision of which cars they wish to drive, to the drivers.

    I thought this was a free country.

  5. July 28, 2017 3:07 pm

    Since when have voters in general elections had a say in future policy? The results of Government consultations are always ignored unless the results agree with what the Government wants. The Iron Law Of Regulations rules – OK.

    • Henning Nielsen permalink
      July 29, 2017 8:23 pm

      In the world of politics, 2040 is as far away as from here to Pluto. I doubt they are serious about this. If they were, then why not propose concrete measures right away, like starting a transition period in, say, three years’ time from now? Can’t be so much more difficult than 23 years into the future.

      Just notice how many emission cuts “promises” and, not least, climate disasters, are timed to 2040-50 or thereabouts. Ample time for voters to forget all about it, and if they don’t, most of the politicians and scientists are off the stage in any case, deceased or enjoying a nice pension.

  6. Dung permalink
    July 28, 2017 3:09 pm

    What gives the right to any government to dictate what cars we drive, particularly when sales of electric cars are are currently less than 1% of the total? This question is even more important when we know that China, India, The USA, Brazil and Russia (off the top of my head) will have no such directive applied to their citizens.

  7. MrGrimNasty permalink
    July 28, 2017 3:26 pm

    I’ve little doubt that the whole diesel emissions scandal was, if not completely orchestrated, then ignored and exploited at the right political moment, to soften people up for banning ICE cars. No real actual measurable harm was done by the emissions ‘cheat’.

    For a long time governments were happy to be seen to be setting strict exhaust pollution limits, appeasing the greens, whilst tacitly allowing the manufacturers to optimize/circumvent the testing procedures. You only have to glance at a list of high performance cars to see the stated CO2 emissions are impossibly low. (That’s not to say today’s exhaust emissions are not significantly improved, of course they are.)

    My only surprise is that they have gone for it in one swoop. I thought they would ban diesels first, and then start producing the advocacy ‘research’ to prove petrol cars were lethal too.

    I can’t remember where I read it, but before all this demonizing of diesel started, the climate change propaganda machine was reported to have had a strategy meeting where they decided that the climate change angle was not convincing people enough to install their socialist agenda, so they wanted to move the narrative on to emotional blackmail, like your car is poisoning your neighbour’s children, giving them asthma etc. Which is precisely what has happened.

    Of course when all the cars are gone and the pollution levels remain stubbornly high (except the few local road issues obviously) what will they ban then?

    • Roy Hartwell permalink
      July 28, 2017 3:51 pm

      Breathing !!

      • Henning Nielsen permalink
        July 29, 2017 8:16 pm

        Only breathing out, breathing in will still be allowed.

  8. Broadlands permalink
    July 28, 2017 3:56 pm

    “But what about the first objective?” Indeed. Translate all that globally. The whole world is supposed to be zero emissions….so that we can then start to lower the CO2 we already emitted? Crazy, or what?

  9. July 28, 2017 3:57 pm

    Or the government could try a crack down on the latest must-have for the in-crowd, the wood-burning stove!

    Here in rural France the wood burner is quite common. Most of the ‘Bricos’ (DIY warehouses) sell them, especially at this time of year when everyone is looking to buy new things. (La Rentrée isn’t just about ‘Back to School’ any more — it’s new washing machine, new linen, and new woodburners, etcetera, you name it!)

    And our local Yellow Pages lists no fewer than 39 suppliers of bois du chauffage and wood being transported or stacked under tarpaulins (there is one stack of about 120 cubic metres not five minutes walk from where I am sitting) is a common sight. And why is it stacked? To season it. So that when it gets burnt two years after felling it doesn’t pollute the atmosphere and all you get is a nice thin stream of blue smoke coming out of your chimney.

    Only ever use dried, fully seasoned chopped wood logs with a moisture content of less than 20% is the advice from The Stoveyard (see here https://www.thestoveyard.com/resource-centre-home/what-wood-to-burn) but I’m prepared to bet that the average townie with this new fashion accessory doesn’t bother with such details and I doubt there are (yet) enough suppliers to meet the demand if they did.

    Some years ago in a blog entitled The King is Dead (https://wordpress.com/post/standstoreason.wordpress.com/11) I speculated on what might be the next scare or excuse for environmental persecution after climate and I plumped, incorrectly as it happens, for Biodiversity. Others did marginally better with Sustainability.

    Today’s choice appears to be Air Pollution! And I think, once we have dug into the true statistics it will die the same death as the others. But if would be nice to see the Islington Dinner Crowd forced to dump the chi-chi little stoves first!

    • Athelstan permalink
      July 28, 2017 5:17 pm

      ” But if would be nice to see the Islington Dinner Crowd forced to dump the chi-chi little stoves first!”

      But if would be nice to see the Islington Dinner Crowd dumped chattels an’ all over the channel, where they obviously would prefer to live, somewhere east of the Ob preferably.

      There, I was being ever so bold and fixed it for you Mr. Jackson.

      ;-))

      Good post btw.

  10. July 28, 2017 4:11 pm

    It is just another way of government colluding with the car industry to get the market off its ass, helped by super cheap finance. Nothing to do with saving the environment.

  11. July 28, 2017 4:13 pm

    I bet that as 2040 gets nearer the second hand price of petrol cars will increase. Just imagine the poor folk finding their electric car hasn’t charged up or the battery is on its way out and will cost a fortune to replace. They will be only too keen to get a second hand petrol model – that is until the government phase out petrol!

  12. Ian Miller permalink
    July 28, 2017 4:26 pm

    This Conservative Government is nothing other than a Greenpeace Puppet Government, which if it persists with Greg Clark & Co-conspiritors’ Energy policies, will haemorrage votes big time next time round.

    • Diogenese2 permalink
      July 28, 2017 6:03 pm

      Votes to who?

      • Gerry, England permalink
        July 29, 2017 1:44 pm

        Exactly! That is the problem in our so called democracy. And people aren’t brave enough to just abstain when there is no choice. Can you just see the headlines if say just 25% of the electorate voted? I know politicians are pig-headed ignorant and stupid but even they would have to ask why so few voted. Hopefully it will be made clear that there was nobody that represented their views so vote withheld. Currently with low turnouts they drivel on about online voting and extending it to children and ignore the cold hard and unpalatable truth that they are not wanted in power.

  13. markl permalink
    July 28, 2017 5:07 pm

    Nothing more than virtue signaling. The economies of the involved countries would collapse which is their intention but the people won’t put up with it. Right now we have competition between local and federal governments trying to “out green” everyone else in an attempt to prove how active they are in saving the world. Supported by the MSM this phony self aggrandization is snowballing into self destruction.

    • bea permalink
      July 28, 2017 6:10 pm

      Our rulers are somewhat like the idiot Commodore in an obscure1950s Hollywood movie that has stuck in my mind , about a forgotten island base in the Pacific. The men are building a new Officers’ Club out of wood and one of them is adjusting the main post by tapping it with a hammer. The General observes them critically

      Tap Tap

      “Not enough!”

      Tap Tap

      “Not enough!”

      Tap Tap … and the roof falls in

      “Too much!”

  14. Glyn Pryce permalink
    July 28, 2017 5:55 pm

    If pollution is such a hazard, please can someone explain why certain parts of London have some of the longest life expectancy statistics in Europe?

  15. HotScot permalink
    July 28, 2017 6:34 pm

    Presumably problems with the 2040 switch-over will begin long before the deadline.

    It would be impossible for everyone in the UK to scrap their existing cars and buy EV’s on the 31st December 23, so there will have to be a fairly lengthy run in, where manufacturers increase their output of EV’s as well as their model ranges.

    Assuming, for arguments sake, it would take 8 Hinckley Point C’s to meet full demand, as has been commonly reported. Over the next 23 years, those have to built.

    And if people start buying EV’s with the attractive subsidies and promises of free charging etc. then over the next 10 years or so, almost half way to the deadline, there will be a significant number on the road.

    There are apparently 8 nuclear powered power stations sites identified in the UK right now, but HPC will take approximately 10 years to build, so by 2027 it should be up and running, assuming no 10 year delays as in France(?).

    Sizewell C is a number of years behind Hinckley, say 5 years, so by 2032 there could be two nuclear power stations up and running. Then there’s Bradwell B in Essex, only at the pre planning stages, so probably getting on for 10 years behind Hinckley.

    So by 2040 we should have one quarter of the energy required to power a massive number of EV’s, although not nearly up to full capacity as many people will still be running ICE cars. But within ten years or so, most ICE cars will have reached the end of their serviceable life, not least because most petrol stations will have closed and parts supply will have dried up.

    By which time we might have reached, perhaps 4, maybe 5 operational nuclear power stations. And it will be another 20 or 30 years (long after I’m gone) before power generation reaches the capacity required in 240, by 30 years on, we will probably need the same again in capacity.

    Is this just my imagination running away with itself? Or does the UK government have a cunning plan?

    Perhaps they know something about Fusion development they’re not telling us.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      July 29, 2017 1:47 pm

      Government doesn’t do plans – look at Brexit. It has ideas but never actually plans for how they will work, or they would discover why they won’t.

      • HotScot permalink
        July 29, 2017 5:57 pm

        To be fair to our government, no one expected Brexit to succeed, so expecting a plan to be available is a tad optimistic.

        Mind you, nor does Brussels have a plan, they’re winging it as well. Brexit has never happened before, so how can anyone be expected to have a plan?

        And to believe the UK isn’t in a strong negotiating position is also wrong. The EU is losing 20% of it’s GDP, Germany retains 30%, France 20%a and the rest make up the remaining 30%.

        Were a business to lose 20% of it’s turnover overnight, it would be facing insolvency, the EU is just a big business (some might say racket).

        On the other hand, the UK retains 100% of its 20%. We will undoubtedly lose some business with the EU, but making up single digit percentages, which is what our business loss is likely to be, is a quantum leap from losing 20%.

        And if the UK does even moderately well outside the EU over the next ten years, expect to see Italy following, as a starter for ten.

        The best the EU can hope for, is that we cooperate with them, limit the damage, and discourage other countries from jumping ship.

        But as some former USSR, EU member states, have recently formed their own alliance within the EU because of the treatment they endure, expect others to follow.

        We constantly scream for radical change to global and national politics. Well, Brexit stirred the pot of global political complacency. Trump waded in with a bigger spoon, and this is it folks, like it or lump it, change is happening, so be careful what you wish for.

        Personally, I welcome it. There is opportunity in change.

  16. A C Osborn permalink
    July 28, 2017 7:36 pm

    Their plan is already showing, kick it up the road for someone else to worry about.

  17. keith permalink
    July 28, 2017 8:28 pm

    Of course this is a smoke screen, it is a smoke screen to hide that Greenpeace, WWF and Friends of the Earth have taken over Government environmental, energy and transport policy. Gove is a total fool to let them dictate this, but of course look at the last Minister who fought this, namely Owen Patterson, he found himself sacked. Bearing in mind the Government has dropped virtually every other manifesto promise funny how they have keep this one to keep all the Lefties happy. Gove and May should be ashamed of themselves as so Tories. They are no different from Blaire’s and Brown’s mobs.

    • Dung permalink
      July 29, 2017 9:44 am

      The problem is that there is no obvious party right now which would make sensible policies and the government knows this. We need a new party, I checked the Libertarian party manifesto and it is good but it will noty attract many voters unless it deals with more issues so who will give us what we need??

    • HotScot permalink
      July 29, 2017 6:04 pm

      It’s also interesting, that despite considerable opposition, Trump, unlike most politicians, is systematically executing his manifesto promises, early doors.

      Personally, I think the guy has some real smarts. Get the pain over with early, then, assuming most have a positive outcome, his run into his second term may well be an easy ride.

      UK politicians are inclined to prevaricate on their big manifesto promises until the 11th hour, then they execute them in a run up to an election and are revealed for being self serving.

      Trumps next 3 years will be very interesting.

  18. Mike Higton permalink
    July 28, 2017 9:19 pm

    It appears that we face sweeping changes when a more nuanced approach would be far more practical.
    If, for a moment, we accept that there are some hotspots where air pollution is a real issue there are a number of options which could mitigate the problem with far less disruption. For example:
    > Today’s generation of light hybrids can travel 20, 30 even 40 miles without using their ICEs. So zones could be established around the hotspots where hybrids would have to travel on volts alone. This would probably need some clever electro-trickery to monitor but I doubt that’s much of a challenge. Pure EVs would also have access, of course.
    > Rather than banning huge numbers of vehicles across the country, maybe look at ways to make them less polluting for general motoring. If memory serves, diesel fuel made from natural gas – as used by Shell for V-Power – produces far less particulates. I don’t know how CNG/LNG/LPG substitution stacks up in this regard but I suspect they are generally cleaner as well.

    Coming back to the apocalyptic claims for health impacts, something puzzles me. While large-scale adoption of diesel is a relatively recent phenomenon in the UK, much of Europe went diesel big-time in the 70s and 80s following the oil crisis. Taxation and pricing were heavily skewed to encourage the shift. Many of us will remember that the diesels of that era were pretty filthy by modern standards.
    So, 40 years on, one would expect there to be significant hard evidence of increased respiratory problems in the major conurbations across Europe. Maybe I have missed it but I have not heard any mention of such evidence which, if it existed, I would expect the alarmists to be screaming about.
    Then we have Ross McKitrick’s analysis of the situation in Canada. When he applied the current models to the levels of pollution seen 40 years ago they “predicted” more deaths than actually occurred at the time from all causes! If the models fail the simple hindcast test, they cannot be trusted.

    • HotScot permalink
      July 29, 2017 6:17 pm

      Mike Higton

      Excellent observations.

      There are apparently 81 roads that exceed pollution limits in the UK. I would hazard a guess that at least 40 of them are in London.

      That is not a convincing argument to punish the rest of the country for driving ICE vehicles.

      But once again, the minority city dweller dictates to the rest of the country.

      Of course, the city dweller is happy to have his/her EV emissions displaced to power stations across the country, as long as their city is ‘clean’ and claim themselves to be a green warrior.

      My understanding of the 40,000 lives terminated by pollution, is that those people might have survived 3 days beyond their ‘polluted’ anticipated life expectancy, were there no pollution.

      The figure of 40,000 seems just another distortion of statistics.

  19. July 28, 2017 9:52 pm

    Re ‘Why should not we leave the decision of which cars to drive to the voters in 2040? What gives us the right to determine that ourselves now?’

    In short, nothing.

    ‘no Parliament can “bind” a future parliament to something on which it has previously legislated’ – says The Independent guide to the UK constitution: The supremacy of Parliament

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/the-independent-guide-to-the-uk-constitution-the-supremacy-of-parliament-10308704.html

    So announcing policies for 2040 is non-binding to say the least. On the other hand the actual effects of today’s policies may be long-lasting e.g. by changing people’s ideas, preferences etc.

  20. stuartlarge permalink
    July 29, 2017 1:30 am

    True Insanity.
    This will require at least a 50% increase in electricity generation, more transmission lines, all local electrical installation will need to be beefed up to handle the extra load, how many charging stations? what about poor motorist that dont have private parking?
    What about at the evening rush hour when everyone gets home and puts their vehicles on charge, the demand will go through the roof.
    How many billions will this cost?

    • bea permalink
      July 29, 2017 11:23 am

      “…how many billions…”

      TRILLIONS not billions.

  21. John F. Hultquist permalink
    July 29, 2017 1:38 am

    Your government should begin removing agencies from London to places that are more windy, say Carlisle, Cumbria. More wind and precipitation would provide cleaner air. Other cities could be candidates for both government and business relocations.
    In 7 to 10 years London could be made livable.
    Turn him to any cause of policy,
    The Gordian Knot of it he will unloose,
    Familiar as his garter

    • HotScot permalink
      July 29, 2017 6:29 pm

      John F. Hultquist

      There is now, the perfect opportunity.

      Westminster is to be refurbished, at eye watering expense and the political machine will be moved wholesale to another site.

      Using modern technology, this could be accomplished by regionalising the move and moving functions across the country.

      But it won’t happen as the Westminster elite will cite centralised decision making as the answer to everything. Despite encouraging business to use technology – whilst broadband speeds in the UK are way behind many developed countries.

      Something our government could easily address, but they won’t, becaus they might be forced out of Westminster.

      Catch 22.

      • bea permalink
        July 29, 2017 9:27 pm

        “…Westminster is to be refurbished…”

        Curiously, I once came across an old book (a century old) about the geological criteria for choosing between different stones, which ostensibly are the same, for building purposes. Almost casually, among the exercises, was a question “Explain why the facade of (some building or other, I do not recall which one) was pristine while the facade of The Houses of Parliament is already crumbling.”

        Bad stone was chosen for Parliament! Which is typical, I suppose, of anything to do with Goverrnment.

        The building should be ruthlessly knocked down, not repaired.

  22. Europeanonion permalink
    July 29, 2017 8:46 am

    The motor and not politics has been the single biggest contributor to the life experience (not expectation, that’s for others to argue) of the working classes. To have the ability, at modest cost, to explore the world in a vehicle, to be able to choose where you want to work, to not be tied to rigid time tables and the vagaries of Trade’s Unions, it is inestimable.

    I can only see that Metropolitan politics is playing the whip hand here. That a place so dissimilar from any other environment in our islands can do so says much for the imbalance that political philosophy is weighing on attitudes and policies. What cares that the public transport enabled Londoner should even consider the price of electric cars, it is something that have no intention of owning. There is nowhere to park such a vehicle there even if they could afford the extraordinary mark-up that they represent; so it is merely a semantic argument. Argumentative rather than progressive.

    This week it was reported that Cuadrilla had had to move their drilling equipment on site under the cover of darkness to avoid a band of anti-fracking campaigners. What is it about the law that it allows a disparate band of serial complainers to occupy the moral high ground in such a way? That a group of grim insurgents can deny the entirety the ability to (possibly) to access cheap energy that is not dependent on courting less than savoury overseas regimes and all that entails is beyond the wit of man.

    Similarly, a prediction of affordable future transportation redolent of the sorts of freedoms that the internal combustion engine supplies is something that is beyond the technical appreciation of modern science. It is right that man continues to experiment and invent, if only for the prize of personal aggrandisement, but to supplant a working, and broadly dispersed system of transportation at this stage, by some imposition of statute is a direct affront to the opportunities and conditions of (especially) the working class.

    For the state to suggest that HS2 with its time tables, its gross use of materials in the making (concrete is a burning process its land use gross, its inflexibility contrary in a dynamic working environment) and its dangerous ignoring of the influence that the unions will bring to bear on such a system (and at a premium price) all for the advantage of a few minutes of travel time, is a gross dereliction of duty. A juggernaut of an idea that looks as though it will be implemented purely because of the head of steam that virtue signalling and the need for some semblance of government being seen as spirited and active one behalf of the generality. Railways had their high point pre-Beeching and the introduction of a major rout will do nothing to make railways a viable alternative. Railways need the Lord Huskisson test.

    The pollution associated with motor cars is largely something of government’s making. The inability to travel our highways with any certainty of ETA is largely down to the dysfunctional nature of our highways and the general view that their engineering and quality are shambolic. The daily queues on the M25 and M6 through Cheshire attest to a system that was originally engineered to a price rather than a capacity and which has been conveniently overlooked in the intervening years. Your being trapped in grid lock is a cost against you and not the government although they convened the mess. The longevity of the applicability of cars using fossil fuels would be assured if cars were able to travel at the manufacturers recommended speeds for fuel efficiency rather than being hampered at every turn by the over application of traffic calming while requiring the scrupulous control of motorways and trunk routes to ensure that traffic is always moving. Queues are pollutants and not cars per se.

    Finally, what sort of electric motor will there be to move massive loads? The embodiment of pollution is the poorly maintained large truck. The necessity for such mammoths will I dare say outlive the 2040 date. Meanwhile people like the London Mayor, courting popularity, have no need to live in any sort of reality and the propagation of his back of a fag packet remonstrations are unhelpful, singular and divorced from reality, gimmicky and sly. There is too much pandering with such commentary. What would we give for leadership that reflects the common good and that is not disseminating the wisdom of the Home Counties as being the general case for the whole country? Already in cultural endowment and quality of life that area is over-indulged to a stultifying degree and its self-preoccupation has to be deflected to consider the views of the other fifty-six million people in this country.

    • HotScot permalink
      July 29, 2017 6:48 pm

      Excellent, if a bit lavish, post.

      I’m retiring back to Scotland in 4 years or so. I have found a one man business, he refurbishes Land Rovers using galvanised chassis (a big weakness of Defenders) and they can be expected to last 20 years.

      Assuming I can still buy diesel (or petrol for a nice V8) I’ll be running it until I shuffle off.

      I have nothing against EV’s, in fact I like the concept, but I’m not interested in being told by a Marxist government what I will, or won’t drive. Similarly, I will eat and drink what I want, I’ll not be dictated to by a government using the NHS, which I pay for, as an excuse to manipulate my living habits.

      I will also (hopefully) build an energy efficient house. Not because the government wants me to, but because it’s entirely logical to do so. It has been an ambition of mine since the 70’s, before the AGW scam began.

  23. bea permalink
    July 29, 2017 11:35 am

    “The public transport enabled Londoner…”

    The London Underground soon will be taking ALL its power from the National Grid. When THAT collapses what fun for 100,000 people trapped underground in the dark.

    • Jack Broughton permalink
      August 1, 2017 1:08 pm

      The rest of the UK will be in total darkness before London suffers: where is the real power centred!

  24. David Benn permalink
    July 29, 2017 3:57 pm

    And Mr Gove has now, it is announced, compounded his folly by proposing a 60mph motorway speed limit in order to ‘tackle the air pollution crisis’.

    I wait with almost child-like eagerness for next week’s announcement that both unemployment and air pollution issues have been resolved by the imposition of a red-flag-carrying pedestrian walking in front of each motor vehicle as it proceeds at a stately 2mph across the UK’s motorway network.

    The tertiary education crisis can then be resolved by making red-flag-carrying a degree-entry profession, thus ensuring an enthusiastic take-up for all those university places which might otherwise have remained unfilled.

    • July 29, 2017 6:05 pm

      It’s ironic that they want to spend billions on HS2, just to save 20 minutes.

      But then want to slow down traffic on motorways!

      • HotScot permalink
        July 29, 2017 7:19 pm

        Paul,

        20 minutes is a ‘projected’ saving.

        Yet to be proven empirically.

    • HotScot permalink
      July 29, 2017 7:17 pm

      You mean we actually get to drive at 60MPH on the M25?

      Result!!!!

  25. bea permalink
    July 29, 2017 6:09 pm

    The only motorway I know of which goes THROUGH a city, and therefore can have the slightest effect on urban air quality, is the one through Glasgow – and that already has 50moh and 60mph restrictions.

    I had the misfortune, once, of hearing Gove speak at a luncheon. He quite put me off my pud.

    • HotScot permalink
      July 29, 2017 7:30 pm

      I don’t understand how this man exists in politics. he has been demonstrated to be exhibitionist, yet ineffective. The public don’t like him, his colleagues don’t like him, (or at least Boris doesn’t) and he has been revealed as a backstabber.

      However, if that’s all that’s needed to be successful in politics, count me in, I can do all that, I wouldn’t like it, but Westminster doesn’t seem to care about that.

      Sorry, I liked the idea of Theresa May (I didn’t like her before she was PM but was prepared to give her a chance) but it’s time for her to go.

      Unfortunately, Gove is angling for her job, and UK politics, as it is, is likely to see him succeed.

      Sad state of affairs.

  26. bea permalink
    July 29, 2017 6:13 pm

    Also, I think emissions are per mile travelled, and this is hardly affected by whether you are travelling at 60mph or 70 mph.

    • HotScot permalink
      July 29, 2017 7:34 pm

      Teach people to drive properly and we wouldn’t need speed limits. Traffic would flow, speed humps and chicanes would be eliminated and road deaths would be dramatically reduced.

      A few more cops on patrol to nick the f*ucking idiots on the road might also help.

  27. Colin permalink
    July 29, 2017 7:34 pm

    All the various motoring taxes raise about £34billion for the treasury. When the oil price exceeded $100 it also took £6billion yearly out if the North Sea.
    In contrast electric cars contribute nothing to the treasury and indeed require £6000 subsidy for each new one purchased. Were all new cars electric this subsidy would cost £6billion yearly.
    The net result will be a tax shortfall of £40billion per year.
    Perhaps we could delay implementation of this plan for 3years and use the savings to pay off student debt.

  28. July 29, 2017 11:01 pm

    PM10 appears to be only 50% from road transport subdivide that 50% as 31% brake + 12% exhaust + 7% tyre
    So changing diesel for EV only removes 12% exhaust component + part of braking component

    NOx projection for Ultra Low Emission Zone 2020
    Shows Nox as only 7% from diesel cars ( this graph is labelled as from London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (LAEI) a government body but not on official website)

  29. July 31, 2017 8:38 am

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News.

  30. August 1, 2017 11:05 am

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

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