The average speed of cars in London on a typical weekday average 8 miles per hour in central London, 12 in inner London and 20 in outer London. According to AI ChatGPT, “based on historical reports and estimates”, the speed of a Roman chariot was probably around 20 to 25 miles per hour on the well-maintained roads of ancient London. It would be patently unfair to lay this lack of progress in London’s urban transport speed over the past 2,000 years solely at the door of the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan.

But fair or not, the two-term mayor, up for re-election next year, will have to face the wrath of a section of London’s electorate who depend on their older “substandard” cars for their daily transport needs. Mayor Khan seems to have provoked incipient rebellion of ordinary motorists with its plans to extend the Ultra-Low Emissions Urban Zone (“Ulez”) to the outer suburbs of Greater London, an area three times the size of the current Ulez zone.

Enough is enough

A month ago, on these pages, I reflected on the “effective pain theory.” The theory goes that when governments impose financial penalties on their voting public for alleged “long-term climate benefits,” a tipping point occurs when its limits of tolerance are exceeded, with consequences at the ballot box.

Well, I told you so…

In Thursday’s by-election, contrary to polls predicting an easy Labor victory for the Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat vacated by former prime minister Boris Johnson, the seat remained in Conservative hands, albeit with a narrow majority. The party suffered heavy electoral defeats in two other seats (as expected). Top government ministers, backbenchers and advisers have warned Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to relax zero-net regulations that will cause more pain to ordinary citizens already facing a cost-of-living crisis.

In an interview for the TelegraphMichael Gove has become the first cabinet member to comment on rigidly applied regulations in the environmental “religious crusade” – notably a ban on diesel and petrol cars from 2030 and gas boilers for home heating from 2025 – which would lead to “backlash” from voters. Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith has become the latest MP to call on members of his party to “reconsider” net zero in light of the by-election results. He wrote that the Conservatives “must stand against net zero” and that Ulez became “a lightning rod, a moment when politicians had to face the fury of the people who imposed another tax on them”.

It is no surprise that a news report published on Friday highlighted a spike in vandalism on the 1,750 number plate reading cameras which Transport for London (TfL) is installing in preparation for the Ulez extension due to be implemented in August. Popular commentator on social networks Katie Hopkins did a skit about how people use cheap padding foam to destroy Ulez cameras.

The social justice and health benefits of congestion charging

Mayor Sadiq Khan introduced Ulez in April 2019, which charges £12.50 a day for older, more polluting petrol and diesel cars entering central London. In October 2021, the zone was expanded to cover the area within the North and South Ring Roads. Will the zone be extended to cover the whole of London next month, as the mayor planned in his signature green policy for the city? He came under pressure to reconsider Ulez expansion after Labor failed to win the Uxbridge by-election. But according to Guardianthe mayor refused to back down from implementing it as planned, but “is open to new ideas to mitigate the impact of the pollution charge”.

The introduction of Ulez did not cause much controversy, as people were open to the idea of ​​a less congested and more pleasant city center. A dense bus and underground transport network has helped ease restrictions for older vehicles in central London. However, the outer suburbs cannot support high-frequency public transport timetables. Retirees, self-employed and small business owners depend on their older cars and vans to get around or support their work responsibilities. Unsurprisingly, Labor MP David Lammy’s suggestion that plumbers or electricians take the tube for their jobs was was widely met with derision.

It’s not just about London and its expansion plans for Ulez. Through cities in England like Birmingham, BristolCambridge, Canterbury, Glasgow and Oxford, enforcing low traffic neighbourhoods, increasing the cost of parking, narrowing roads for cycle lanes, placing bollards and plantations to completely restrict car traffic and experimenting with zoning restrictions for “15 minute cities” have become commonplace. London itself is now the most congested city in the worldironically caused by his war against working-class motorists.

This war on private cars is in line with Ambitions of the World Economic Forum governments to reduce the number of cars in the world by 75% by 2050 to reduce carbon emissions from the transport sector. There is little, if any, recognition in the WEF’s green agenda of what the loss of affordable private transport means to ordinary people. Tradespeople such as plumbers and electricians who depend on deliveries for work, mothers taking children to and from school or shopping, disabled or elderly people who need to visit loved ones or go to hospital war of elites against cars.

Mayor Khan declared overwhelming support for his Ulez expansion plan even though it existed complaints about the integrity of the consultation process based on documents obtained through freedom of information requests. A YouGov poll commissioned by the mayor found that only 27% of respondents opposed the Ulez extension as a means of “solving air pollution”, while 51% were in favour. A rival poll by the Tories asked respondents whether they were for or against the expansion, with the preface that it was done to raise revenue. This reversed the results, with 51% against expansion and 34% in favor. Biased polls are nothing new, and poll results depend on the framing of the question.

Given the long-term nature of climate change and “saving the planet” from a supposedly impending climate disaster, the mayor’s office’s public relations approach in promoting the Ulez expansion focused on the health effects of air pollution. Ulez is at least ostensibly about air quality and the health of Londoners. For Mayor Khan, air pollution is a a social justice issue: “To me, the issue is very simple: it’s a social justice issue… The poorest people, least likely to own a car, least likely to cause toxic air problems, are most likely to suffer the consequences.”

But like the questionable results of the Ulez expansion survey cited by the mayor’s office, data on London’s air pollution contradicts his claims. Khan’s office says nitrogen oxides have fallen by 46% and PM 2.5 (particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter) by 41% since 2019. Yet this comparison is based on questionable counterfactual modeling of what “would happen” if no Ulez were in operation. Ross Clark of The Spectator”he smells a rat” here and refers to a studying at Imperial College which examined air pollution data for 12 weeks before and 12 weeks after the original Ulez was introduced in 2019. It found that there was no significant reduction in PM 2.5 pollution and nitrogen oxides fell by just 3%.

AND report of the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants claimed that the air at Hampstead station, London’s deepest tube station, has a concentration of particulate matter 30 times worse than that of a busy road in the capital. Estimate for 2019 the social cost of air pollution from cars in the UK they found it to be £25 a year or less. In other words, just two entry charges to Central London Ulez would cover the social cost of this pollution for a whole year.

Air pollution levels in London have fallen dramatically over the past 50 years, along with other major cities such as Tokyo and New York, which were known for their smog-filled skies in the 1970s. A reduction in the burning of coal in homes and old power plants, more efficient vehicles using better quality diesel and petrol, and the use of natural gas for electricity, home heating and cooking are some of the factors that have led to much cleaner air in most cities in developed OECD countries.

Is the tide turning?

In March, Dutch voters went to the polls and put the populist Farmers and Citizens Movement (BBB) ​​ahead of the ruling party in the Senate, redefine the political scene of the country. He opposes government plans to decimate the Dutch agricultural industry, the world’s 2nd largest agricultural exporter, with another environmental scare: nitrogen fertilizers, which release nitrous oxide (N2O), a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.

In June and YouGov survey found that 20% of German voters would vote for the AfD, making it the second strongest party behind the centre-right CDU (28%) and ahead of Scholz’s SPD (19%). The revival of the AfD, permanently dubbed the “far right” side of the mainstream media was at the expense of the Green Party, which pushed burdensome climate change policies. Proposed ban on diesel and gas heating systems from 2024 he can be the proverbial pen that breaks the back of the Scholz coalition government’s green agenda.

Political opposition to green virtue-signalling schemes is growing across Europe, with London motorists leading the way the first real anti-green civil uprising. Mayor Khan may have miscalculated his Ulez expansion plans, he argued Matthew Lynn from The Telegraph. Susan Hall, the Conservative candidate for next year’s London mayoral election, does he promised to cancel the Ulez expansion and TfL funding for low-traffic neighborhoods if voted on.

Will London motorists unite to make it happen?

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