- Reduce Windfall Fuel Taxes
- End Smart Motorways
- Cancel HS2
- Invest in Road Network Repairs
***Updated June 2022***
Let’s talk about windfall taxes shall we. Currently (10-6-2022) we are paying on average £100 to fill our cars & looks to be heading even higher. Our Government is happily collecting over 90 pence per litre in tax, far more than just a few months ago. High pump prices are a windfall for the Government and every day they delay a tax reduction is another day of collecting £ millions they were not expecting.
I suspect that they are hoping to keep taxes as high as possible so they can pay down their daft covid profligacy before the anticipated 2024 general election.
The problem with that strategy is that every day that fuel is unaffordable is another day that inflation is pushed higher, another day of people quitting their jobs because they can’t afford to travel to work, another day of rising prices to cover transport costs, another day of strikes for higher wages.
If renewables are a source of cheaper fuel then why are they being susidised with fossil fuel taxes? No oil or gas company has ever been subsidised.
Our energy strategy is a shambles and the Governments quest for net zero at any cost only heaps increased costs onto consumers.
If I was in charge of encouraging motorists to switch to electric cars, I would inflate the cost of petrol and diesel as much as I could. I wouldn’t be particularly keen to reduce fuel prices. That’s how I would encourage electric car sales, but then they wouldn’t do that would they?
Higher fuel prices are already reducing peoples journeys. If you were married to the idea of reducing CO2 emissions at all costs as soon as possible then reducing car journeys would be a good starting point wouldn’t it? During Covid lockdowns our emissions from travel dropped massively. This demonstrated the evil of having a functioning economy and it looks very much like our Government is prepared to damage our economy for a theoretical CO2 reduction that will make zero difference to the planet.
China & India are both building new coal fired power stations to meet their demand, they are both increasing coal production, they are replacing any CO2 reduction that we make in a matter of hours. We are deluded and our Government is making us uncompetitive on the world stage for a virtue signalling vanity project that will not help our planet in any way.
Get The Transport Basics Right
We need to talk about transport. We need to fill in all potholes. Councils need to pay for damage to vehicles caused by failing to maintain the road network to a minimum standard.
It is in our long term interests to move away from fossil fuels and vehicles powered by fossil fuels, but we need to provide the infrastructure to allow this to happen.
We need to provide the power station / generation capacity before we can switch to electric cars, if they are indeed the future of road travel and not hydrogen fuel cells which look to be a much more viable longer term transport solution.
We need to scale up public transport if we want people to use it. We are all used to the convenience of driving from A to B. Unless you live in London, public transport is woefully inadequate. Public transport doesn’t go where we want to go when we want to go there. That is the main issue.
Town centres are deserted because shortsighted councils have built out of town shopping centres that you need to drive to get to. Town centres have public transport that no one needs and out of town shopping centres have no public transport… who would have planned such a system?
While public transport is a satisfactory solution in London, Manchester & Birmingham, in smaller towns and in rural settings, it is not an option.
Expecting drivers to switch to bicycles especially during winter is naive at best. While it may work for a few MP’s, it is not practical or viable for the majority. Halving road space in favour of cycle lanes is regressive, virtue signalling and pointless.
I am sceptical that HS2 offers much benefit for the cost involved. If it was a high speed Mag Lev rather than Victorian technology I could get on board, but it is only marginally faster to get to an out of town station, meaning your point to point journey time will be longer than on the existing lines. It makes no sense to me.
With out of town HS2 stations, and journey times only 20 minutes faster, your total journey from A – B is not going to be any faster. In all likelihood journeys will actually take longer. So where is the benefit?
Maybe we should lead the world in developing & promoting driverless cars. Imagine a world where you don’t need to own a car because there will always be a driverless, Uber, Google or Apple car not far away, offering very low cost electric powered travel. If your journey was longer you could swap cars at changeover points. Multistorey car parks would be recharging stations for all these electric taxi vehicles.
Without the cost of a driver, journey costs would be much reduced. Car sharing options could also be managed by the Apps you book with if desired, saving journeys and costs even further. It may be some way off in the distance, but there is significant potential to transform transportation with driverless vehicles.
Injury and death would be vastly reduced compared to todays numbers. You wouldn’t have to worry about the recklessness of other drivers. Travel cost would be affordable for all. A 10 mile taxi journey would cost a couple of £ instead of £20+.
I suspect that there will soon be a city wide trial in San Francisco, Milton Keynes or somewhere whereby fossil fuel cars are banned and only driverless cars would be allowed. After a year they would be able to demonstrate lower accidents, emissions and risk. After they have proved that it would be rolled out across more towns and cities. In the fullness of time fossil fuel & self drive cars would be driven off the roads.
This would of course cause a massive disruption to the car manufacturing industry, but maybe it’s a price worth paying in the long term?
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We either need them to be properly smart, or we need to get rid of them.
I think we can all agree that the Matrix signs are too far apart & there are no where near enough safe areas. We also need to be confident that the traffic cameras are adequate to monitor every inch of the motorway, but that they are also being monitored every second of the day and night.
We need to know that the moment a car breaks down in the near side lane that the lane closure red X signs will be activated within seconds, not as we have seen in some instances 17 minutes. In the short term, we either need to close the left lane to traffic, or we need far more emergency laybys on ‘smart’ motorways. Currently up to 1.5 miles apart, we should insist that there is a safe space layby at least every 500 metres. In truth, we actually need a hard shoulder. They used to exist for a reason, public safety.
People generally don’t get to choose where they breakdown, it is out of their hands, thrust upon them unexpectedly. Breakdowns shouldn’t be punishable by death.
Being stationary in the left hand lane is a frightening experience. It is dangerous being stationary on the hard shoulder, but that risk is magnified greatly when you take that hard shoulder away. We have a duty of care to protect people from unnecessary dangers. I’m not talking about overreach and nanny state interference, I am talking about necessary protections for people thrust into a dangerous situation that they have no control over.
We need more signage so drivers know there is an obstruction and it needs to happen in real time, otherwise smart motorways are not viable.
It’s ironic that at the same time as we ask motorists to keep left to maximise the volume of traffic we can fit onto motorways, we also introduce a policy of random stationary vehicles in the inside lane. Why would anyone choose to use the left hand lane on a motorway when they know that it’s the most likely place to meet a broken down vehicle?