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Ex-Mayor Livingstone

Mayor’s green swindle

This is all going to cost £420 million but it is only worth £250 millionThe Mayor, and TfL’s Michelle Dix, are showing typical economic illiteracy in their announcement of the London Emission Zone today.

They use environmental benefits to sell a scheme which does not stack up in economic terms.

If you want the health benefits described you could have them more cheaply by spending the cash on health rather than persecuting people who run commercial vehicle fleets.

Livingstone says:

In a modern world city, people should have the opportunity to live and work without fear of being poisoned by the air they breathe. Thousands of Londoners suffer ill-health from pollution released by traffic fumes.

All good polemical stuff but 90% rubbish. TfL’s own document says:

The proposed LEZ is not expected to have a major impact on the levels of ozone.

It is not anticipated that the proposed LEZ would have a significant impact on CO2 emissions.

The document talks about how particulate emissions (PM10) would be reduced but:

Given the overall decline in air pollution [that is occurring anyway], the LEZ would effectively bring forward air quality standards, by up to three or four years.

In other words the LEZ will drive down PM10 but this will happen anyway as new vehicles are introduced that comply with up to-date emissions standards. A similar outcome could be expected for NOX.

The temporary environmental benefits of the scheme, which bring forward emission levels that would be in place anyway in 3 or 4 years, will have temporary health benefits which are to be welcomed. The Mayor values these at £250 million. Great. But, by the Mayor’s own figures, this scheme will cost TfL, ie us, £120 million over its life. It will also cost vehicle operators £200 to 300 million. You may not worry that vehicle operators will pick up most of the bills but don’t think that you will not pay. You will pay more council tax for councils to replace vehicles early and higher prices in London’s shops. TfL’s own document shows that this scheme is not worth it. £250 million of health benefits bought for £420 million. £170 million wasted.

Michelle Dix, so-called Director of the London Low Emission Zone at TfL, has previous for economic illiteracy. She was the one who said about a London-wide congestion charging scheme:

It would generate £3 billion gross and net revenue of between £1 billion and £2 billion.

Apparently she can’t refine her cost estimates more accurately than to the nearest £1 billion. Why does she think it acceptable to tax people to this extent and then lose anywhere from a third to two thirds of the money in collection costs?