Thursday, 22 February 2018

Emission Zone Consultation

I filled-in the form that says "do you want to pay more tax by being fined for small contraventions?"  At the top it says

Have your say on changes to the
Ultra Low Emission Zone &
Low Emission Zone

There is some evidence here

There is a form here

A lot of people fill-in these forms and write
"yes: I want to be part of a big bossy system without thinking of better options".
Shitbags. Which may sound rude but that's what the people who want more fines and rules and zones think of the typical person who gets fined, and of course they get fined themselves now and then as well because we all do by mistake.

So this is what I wrote on the final "further comments" section:

I am against everything!
I need to write a more careful response based on the headings of your evidence document, but I probably won't, or won't be well informed, so here is something off the cuff.


I think there must be a lot more to be done to trap particles in plant leaves, because I see no new hedges or schemes at all. No honeysuckle, no virginia creeper, nothing. I can't remember the name of the dutch plant developed for the purpose, with a name that's a pun on dope smoking, so I googled and saw that "plants to reduce particle pollution levels the most", "how do trees reduce air pollution", and  "pollution preventing plants" are common searches and guess that there are plenty of expert advisers who could suggest the best possible plants to use as hedges while something is planted anyway, perhaps in pots to remove when a better plant can be found to make a hedge on the central reservation of Edgeware Road or the crash barriers of Westway.


I hoped to see something about the need for safer parks with more wilderness and undergrowth - something that happens at near zero cost. What I see day to day is councils cutting-back undergrowth to prevent gay cruising and suit the tastes of politically active local groups, such as Friends of Barnes Common or Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery (set up under Mayer Rahman). I'm told that Hyde Park has police patrols at night to prevent or reduce cruising after dark, despite the cost to the police budget and the effect of gay cruisers in making parks safer places. I think I saw that the Royal Parks still discourage cycling for no reason at all in some cases as well. Hampstead Heath, run by the City Corporation, has teams of people on public money cutting back the undergrowth to discourage gay cruisers, all paid-for out of our taxes and reduced public services.

So I think there is a need to embarrass and arm-twist councils and the Royal Parks into spending less money on this, promoting wilderness that is good for the environment, and promoting gay cruisers as people who make the streets and parks safer at night.


What scares me is that a visitor or somebody without the internet who is not clued-up will face a big fine by mistake, just for driving an old banger because unable to afford something new.  I think a lot of us have been fined or had a near-miss for driving in the congestion zone by mistake.

I am scared that tired international lorry drivers of travelers or Uber drivers or Hermes delivery people will end-up facing fines, and that the people who can't make a living as mini cab drivers will make even less of a living because of higher costs and difficulty of complying with the system.

I don't have an immediate solution but some kind of first warning system, by which those who broke the rules were given free advice on how to comply with the law, with a possible extra tax on all drivers related to a particular company or customer if
it's believed that that system encourages new drivers to try to use ignorance and poverty as ways of competing more cheaply.

I don't have an immediate response to the types of vehicles allowed to congest, except to say that I don't understand, so that maybe the problem is one of presentation. If the rule where presented as "electric only - and a long list of detailed exceptions", then I might take to it more.

(PS That's one of the scares among other more obvious ones like the zone getting to where I live and me having to pay more.)


I suggest that a lot of the jobs done in central London are pointless. The person who comes to your table at a pub and says "how was your soup?". The person who changes your bed linen in a hotel. The tourist who stays in the hotel without realizing that Cardiff would be cheaper. The visiting head of state, entourage, and police. The culture or sport event like the Olympics (promoted by the Foreign Office to promote Soft Power abroad., as imagined by someone paid more than double the average wage by the Foreign Office, who lives in the home counties when in the UK and does not much use UK public services.)

There is a list of the top 20 degree-awarding colleges by numbers of international students they attract. It's easy to get a number of international students at these colleges in London, I think, and the number is about the same a the number of long distance commuters who commute between regions the UK in or out of the London region. It is a number with the same number of noughts after it. So, a system to encourage international students to go to Lampeter or Coleraine or West Highlands and not the usual boring courses that home students avoid in central London would be good all-round. Maybe the people who promote these courses should co-operate with those from Ireland who do the same thing.

All of these jobs could be discussed more in some way that I don't know off-the-cuff but maybe a series of lectures and discussions or TV programs.


I glanced at the evidence document and saw that the pattern of buying things from China or an intermediate warehouse, rather than from a walk-in chainstore that imports from China or even one that buys from the UK, is likely to lead to more van deliveries over time, with emissions and congestion attached, and so a need for more zones and taxes.

There are different ways of responding to this.


reducing the value of the pound to increase home production

I suggest that the government needs more ways of reducing inflation than simply waiting for the Bank of England to put the exchange rate up (high interest rates leading to high exchange rates) and killing-off UK manufacturing. The effect is for more people in the UK to seek service jobs that are traditionally based in the south, London, Edinburgh, and not the North East or Gwent. So I think it is in Londoner's interest for more ways to be found of reducing inflation when the Monetary Policy Committee thinks there is a danger of it. The job is to un-pick their reasoning, encourage debate, and put to the problem to the public as part of that debate. Oddly enough, some of the economics courses that attract international students to the centre of London are no good at that. That's why the LSE is the second least popular degree-awarding institution on the Guardian University Guide's list by student feedback, second only to University of the Arts.


promoting services like click and collect

I suggest that the regional government of any over-crowded city should try to advertise click-and-collect services at local newsagents and such, as a way to prevent people expecting a delivery at home when they might not be in, so that someone on low wages has to keep driving round and ringing door bells.

That's all I can think of off the cuff.