Croydon Permit Parking Charges – Public Ignored

The London Borough of Croydon has published the responses to their consultation on changes to parking charges that will result in large increases, particularly for certain vehicles. It will mean the permit parking charge for a vehicle emitting more than 225 g/km of CO2 will rise from £80 to £300. There will also be an additional surcharge of 30% for pre-2015 diesel vehicles and it is also proposed to introduce similar increases for Pay & Display parking spaces.

Councillors have decided to push ahead with the proposals despite the fact that of the 148,000 cars registered in Croydon only 9,000 pay for parking permits. So the impact on air pollution in Croydon will be negligible even if some residents respond by changing their vehicles. As most of the air pollution comes from buses, HGVs and LGVs, charging resident car owners in the name of reducing pollution is pointless.

But the Council will make as much as £162,000 in additional permit charges each year which gives you some idea of the motive for this change.

There were 1,149 responses to the public consultation of which 1,039 submitted objections (i.e. 90%) with only 62 responses in support. Some 19% of respondents suggested this was simply a way for the council to generate income, and they were certainly correct on that point. The council’s response to that was to say the parking charges were insufficient to reduce the number of cars on the roads of Croydon.

You can read all the responses to the public consultation and the Council’s report here: https://tinyurl.com/y3o4oby2 . Here’s a summary of one response: “It is a tax on the poor. It’s not fair on those people who cannot afford to buy a new card…. It is another poverty tax…..”.

Comment: This is a typical example of doing a public consultation and then ignoring the result, apart from ignoring the logic and likely impact of the proposal. Regrettably Labour controlled councils such as Croydon often adopt the stance of ignoring the views of the public because Councillors think they know better what is good for you. I hope that those impacted will bear this in mind at the next borough elections.

Roger Lawson

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Silly Season News – Cars Banned in London

In the UK the “silly season” is the period lasting for a few summer months typified by the emergence of frivolous news stories in the media. This was exemplified by an item on BBC London TV News this evening.

Leo Murray from an organisation called 10/10 Climate Action was interviewed about his proposal to ban all private cars in London. Mr Murray is an eco-warrior of the extreme kind and why the BBC should give a platform to such a person to promote such views is beyond me. They certainly must be desperate for news stories.

When challenged on how the disabled would get around, he suggested they would be given free taxi rides subsidised by paying taxi users. That of course leaves all the other people who find cars essential for some trips banned. But he would not ban goods deliveries or buses so the impact on air pollution would be negligible and taxis would grow in numbers offsetting the benefit altogether.

I have suggested to the BBC that they interview me on a proposal to ban all buses, HGVs and LGVs to improve the air, plus of course all planes that fly over London. I can make out a good case for that proposal. Those who use buses would need to walk or cycle, but we know that’s good for their health so there are clear benefits. That would solve the traffic congestion problem at a stroke. That’s surely a good enough story for the BBC to cover? It’s just as daft as Mr Murray’s but if one is short of interesting news…….

But if you think the BBC should not provide a platform for such eccentrics as Leo Murray, here’s where to go to if you wish to complain: http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/

Roger Lawson

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Biased Reporting by the BBC on the Silvertown Tunnel, including Paedophrasty

A queue of traffic on the approach to Blackwall Tunnel

A queue of traffic on the approach to Blackwall Tunnel

Yesterday evening an item on the BBC London evening news covered the announcement of London as a “National Park City” and the new Silvertown Tunnel. I have sent in the following complaint to the BBC about the bias in this programme and the use of children to promote an agenda:

“In the BBC TV London Evening News on 22/7/2019 BBC Transport Correspondent Tom Edwards reported on the “National Park City” and also covered complaints from schoolchildren at Thomas Tallis School and their teacher about the new Silvertown Tunnel. They complained about the possible air pollution from HGVs and the contribution generally to air pollution and global warming. There was no representative giving an opposing opinion except for the Mayor of London briefly explaining that HGVs would not likely use the new tunnel because it would be expensive for them to do so. There was nobody else who supports the new tunnel which will be of major benefit to many people and will not make air pollution worse in the area.

This programme followed on from a similar item by Tom Edwards in the previous week where a hysterical campaigner against the tunnel was interviewed, but again there was no contrary view represented of the substantial merits of the new Silvertown Tunnel.

Complaint 1: The BBC is not providing an independent and unbiased view of the merits of the Silvertown Tunnel as against those who oppose it.

Complaint 2: The BBC should not be using ill-informed schoolchildren in this way who had clearly been encouraged by their teacher and rehearsed in what they should say.”

The Silvertown Tunnel is essential tor relieve congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel which has long queues of traffic most days and where even a minor incident causes massive traffic jams. As a result of the often stationery or very slow-moving traffic, air quality is poor in the vicinity and may be actually improved by the new Tunnel. Air quality was reviewed carefully in the planning process and charges on the new Tunnel, and the ULEZ zone charges/restrictions, will reduce traffic and air pollution. It is unlikely that many vehicles will divert from the Dartford Crossing to use the new Tunnel.

Note that Thomas Tallis school is very near the A2 – the road that leads to the Blackwall Tunnel. It was probably an unsuitable location for the school when it was built. The solution is obviously to relocate it which in comparison with the cost of the Silvertown Tunnel would not be expensive.

If you wish to make your own complaint to the BBC over their biased reporting on this matter, go here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/ . You could also complain to Tom Edwards via Twitter: @BBCTomEdwards . These reports were typical of the environmental coverage by the BBC which never represents contrary views to the extreme eco-terrorism of such groups as Extinction Rebellion.

Using school children to promote the agenda of their parents or teachers is of course unethical and is a favourite ploy of Mayor Sadiq Khan. In this case it was used against him though.

Here’s a new word for you: paedophrasty – “An argument involving children to prop up a rationalisation and make the opponent look insensitive and uncaring. As people are defenceless and suspend all scepticism in front of suffering children, nobody has the heart to question the authenticity or source of the reporting. Often done with the aid of pictures.”

Roger Lawson

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Lewisham Parking Charges to Increase

The London Borough of Lewisham is proposing to revise it permit parking charges and make other changes to its parking policies. It includes emission-based charges that means owners of diesel vehicles or with larger engines will pay much higher charges.

They are doing this because they claim “air pollution is causing a public health crisis in London…” but that is simply not true. Londoners are living longer than ever. They also claim that introducing such charges will improve air quality when that is not true either – the vast majority of air pollution comes from buses, HGVs and other commercial vehicles, from home heating, offices, industry and other sources – such as blown in from outside the borough.

Charging car owners more will have negligible impact on air pollution in Lewisham but will cause some residents to incur substantial extra costs in paying higher permit charges or the cost of changing their vehicles.

But it will also have no impact on residents who park off-road or on visitors who drive through Lewisham so it’s basically an attack on a small minority of residents in the name of fixing a non-existent health crisis. It’s also probably about raising income from parking but the Council seems unable to disclose the financial impact.

The Council is running a public consultation on the proposals which you can access here: https://lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/parking/permits/parking-policy-consultation . Don’t forget to answer all the personal information questions such as sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious beliefs, and sources of income so that Lewisham Council can keep all your personal information on file for anyone to hack! I’m joking in that regard of course. Don’t answer them.

Roger Lawson

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Heathrow Airport Expansion, M25 Diversion and HS2

Heathrow Airport has announced a public consultation on its plans to expand by building a third runway. This will require diversion of the M25 into a tunnel over which the new runway will be built.

The western side of the M25 is one of the busiest sections of the national motorway network and has regular congestion at present. The additional traffic generated by the airport expansion plus the construction traffic and the disruption caused by the diversion is surely going to make congestion worse both in the short term and long term.

In addition the additional planes flying in and out of the airport will add to air pollution in the area which is already one of the worse such spots in London. The airport plans “no significant increase in parking at the airport despite the scale of growth” which seems somewhat unrealistic. But they plan to deter people from driving to the airport by introducing a ULEZ charge for most visitors. Effectively folks using vehicles will be targeted as a way to offset the additional emissions from planes.

As regards the general merits of expanding the airport, the ABD has no official stance as there are differing opinions on the subject. But the impact on the M25 and surrounding roads will clearly be negative and should be opposed.

For more information and to respond to the consultation, go here: https://aec.heathrowconsultation.com/

HS2

Boris Johnson, our potential future Prime Minister, is drawing up plans to have an independent review of HS2 which many people oppose. But it is likely to be run by Douglas Oakervee who chaired HS2 between 2012 and 2013. This looks like a future “whitewash” and a sop to those who oppose HS2 on economic and environmental grounds.

Roger Lawson

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Silvertown Tunnel Goes Ahead

Transport for London (TfL) have named the Riverlinx Consortium as the preferred bidder for the Silvertown Tunnel. This is the new tunnel to relieve congestion at the Blackwall Tunnels, something that has been desperately needed for some years.

The Consortium is a private finance project backed by several investors. They will get the build costs and the initial maintenance costs from a toll on the users of the both the Silvertown and Blackwall Tunnels. Some vehicles will also be paying an additional ULEZ charge because the tunnels will fall within the expanded ULEZ area.

TfL say they do not have the funds to finance such major projects despite the Mayor of London having an annual budget of over £18 billion, one of the largest for any municipal organisation in the world. Relying on private finance initiative funding has been shown to be one of the most expensive ways to provide public infrastructure in the long-term so this is probably another example of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s financial ignorance. Perhaps it’s a case of TfL being unable to borrow the money to finance the project as they are beginning to look like a basket-case of the first order.

The new tunnel should substantially reduce congestion and cut air pollution from the queuing or standing traffic that happens most days at present. The build contract should be formally awarded in the summer, with completion by 2025. But the Green Party are still opposing it.

Roger Lawson

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The Cost of Khan – 3

The Conservative Group on the Greater London Assembly have produced their latest report on the 3-year record of the Mayor in the “Cost of Khan”. It analyses the performance of Mayor Sadiq Khan in the job. Anyone who thinks he is performing well in the role should read it. For those who think he is performing badly, it provides the evidence.

I’ll focus on a just a few of the issues in this note. Khan’s war on the suburbs with the new “London Plan” is covered where housing density is increased and back gardens are allowed to be built on. It includes proposals to limit car parking provision which shows the Mayor’s lack of awareness and consideration for outer London residents and their needs.

Financial incompetence is highlighted such as over Crossrail, the pay of TfL employees and the ULEZ scheme. The staff in City Hall have gone up from 897 when he became Mayor in 2016 to what will be 1,232 staff in the next financial year. That’s a 37% increase and pay in total has gone up an even more staggering 59%. That’s one reason you are paying more in Council Tax!

Even his record on the environment and air pollution is poor with promises of tree planting not met, and the very high pollution from diesel buses which account for 20% of NO2 emissions is not falling as replacement is slow. The ULEZ scheme will be very expensive to implement and operate and is not likely to have a great impact on air pollution.

In summary, the Mayor is a great expert at blowing his own trumpet by spending large sums on PR and social media. He also spends a lot of time on politics that are outside his remit such as Brexit and the Trump visit. Perhaps he just wants to distract the public from his failings to do his job effectively?

You can read the detail report here:

https://www.glaconservatives.co.uk/cost-of-khan.html

Roger Lawson

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