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Ex-Mayor Livingstone

More empty consultation

More electioneering from me.  More expense for youIt is just over a year since the Mayor mooted the idea of charging the most polluting vehicles £25 to enter the Congestion Charging Zone.

Since then the idea has been refined to include the notion that such vehicles inside the zone should lose the residents’ concession.

One year on and the Mayor is talking about consultation. This is just another bout of electioneering from the Mayor. He thinks that the green shtick has resonance – he is right, even a pretty libertarian conservative like me thinks that 4WDs are anti-social.

Today he says he wants to consult. He doesn’t really. According to a poll conducted by IPSOS/MORI for the Mayor in July 2006, 64 per cent of Londoners think the most polluting cars should pay a higher congestion charge. So the Mayor knows this will be popular and he has already spent out on the poll. He doesn’t mind though spending another few hundred thousand of our cash to put a leaflet through our doors telling us how green he is. Whatever the result, which is bound to be positive, he will proceed as planned. There are few central London 4WD drivers, apparently only 8% of cars in the zone would be affected, so we are talking about a minority of a minority. This is a fairly safe piece of rich people bashing for the Mayor.

The Mayor’s use of tendentious language such as “gas guzzlers” and “Chelsea tractors” demonstrates, as ever, that he is not the sober public servant but a populist politician who happily spends our money spinning to stay in power.

I will find out how much he is spending. I will report back after the usual 20 days have elapsed.

2 replies on “More empty consultation”

I think you’ve missed a trick or two here. First, he’s reorganising Brown’s tax bands which did allow for existing owners by carving a new band G for 225+g/kmCO2 cars registered after 2006 – Livingstone doesn’t accept that so there’s no joined-up government here. Secondly the wordy report (http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/ERCC-supplementary.pdf) makes clear this does _nothing_ for actual air quality in London: NO2, PM10 etc will remain high.

Thirdly of course it makes charging more complex, which could trip people up. No longer exempt are the nice hybrids once tooted as saviours of the world unless they’re within the newest EU emission bands; next, out goes the LPG cars and the report cited admits this kicks businesses where it hurts if they converted cars to LPG in 2006, it even spells out how they loose. It even covers the larger families Muslims & Sikhs have, needing people carriers; sorry lads but the planet means you lose.

There is a section on SUVs which assumes all of ’em are over 225g/km but of course any perusal of the Sundays shows tons of the newest ones now emit 223g/km, sneaking under the wire. Amusingly the famous Pius comes out badly in the waste section – it’s much heavier than its band B equivalents and noticably skews the weight averages (and road damage is related to load…)

Lastly (it’s too big to put in paragraphs), the report concludes that congestion may go up as big car owners move to exempt vehicles so it’s all up for review in 2010. Quicksand is more stable. What do you buy if you can’t forsee the charge points?

I think the opinion poll made good use of “gas guzzler” without making clear a lot of midrange cars are in the 225-265 range.

[…] You might have seen this graphic on various posters around London recently and in full page ads in local papers. In early August the Mayor announced he was consulting on his variable CO2 based charging for the congestion Charge. This is of course an attempt by the Mayor to rebrand the failed Congestion Charge as a carbon tax and is effectively electioneering paid for by you and me. As soon as I saw his announcement I thought “How much?”. […]

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