The London dictator under the guise of Mayor is not exactly someone I would trust with a zebra crossing never mind a metropolis.
His ULEZ scheme is actually a continuation of the one Boris put in motion some years ago when he had the same job and it is as useful now as then as an indication of the way things are going.
Using children's health as a reason for restricting the use of petrol and diesel cars and vans on London’s roads makes a good sound bite, but falls under the same banner as the ‘if it saves one life’ the cry that went up in support of various useless claims for protection during the Covid pandemic. Life is not without risk, the 4000 deaths as continually repeated by Khan has never been proved or facts produced.
But all that is a smokescreen for the control of travel and the elimination of motor vehicles from our roads; an over simplification of a short term problem? I think not.
The fact that Khan has been caught out discussing further restrictions and charges to shore up his failed policies in the capital tells a tale of betrayal of the people who live there, and not only in London as already other cities are following the ULEZ model in an attempt to replenish falling government grants. Either way it is our money.
The saying 'never trust a politician' has become ever more justified in this age of social media and electronic technology. Khan has been caught out discussing the future and the inevitable drop in ULEZ fees when EVs eventually make up the majority of road vehicles.
He has voiced this before under a ‘fairer’ way to charge motorists, but it would involve variable charges for type of vehicle and miles covered. You can bet your life that costs will be more than the soon to be imposed ULEZ ones.
In a country with such poor and expensive public transport any authority imposing these sorts of charges needs a shield to justify them. Climate Change aka air quality is the current one.
As with everything else these days even if these measures could be justified, and the signs are weak in the case of ULEZ, it is a case of cart before the horse. Once again our appalling lack of infrastructure which in so many cases is not fit for purpose is being used as the solution to a problem dreamed up in the fiscal corridors of county hall; again those that pay taxes and those that use vehicles to ply their trades within the city are being clobbered on the altar of eco-ideologues and greedy cash-strapped authorities.
As with all these measures once installed prices will rise, it’s a cash cow that is too good to ignore. The clean air excuse will not be a viable reason to see such increases or even the original charge when a critical vehicle mass in EVs is reached so what will the reason for the charges then be? We already know the reason for that.
Don’t kid yourself that this is only a London centric problem: other cities as mentioned above are already installing their own ULEZ schemes, with city centres shrinking because in part the business rates are crippling, footfall is falling and in these austere times with less money to spend authorities everywhere are looking to make up the difference. The motor car once the symbol of freedom has become conveniently the ‘evil one’ to be vilified and fleeced.
All EVs are dependant on efficient charging points for any lengthy journeys. Although charging times have shortened and are still improving, once a certain mass of EVs has been reached the problems multiply. Not only are there currently and for the foreseeable future a huge deficit in charging points meaning waiting times that make EVs largely pointless, but high speed chargers are dependent on grid supply which means the high speed chargers are only high speed when one or two are being used concurrently. If all 16 are in use they become low speed chargers and your estimated 1 hour charging time suddenly becomes 4 hours.
The expense of charging will itself go up to pay for green energy subsidies that make it possible. As with all else all governments can’t resist an open goal to launch new tax measures and the replacement of falling petrol taxes must be a worry for them, but don’t fear they will - whilst reducing all traffic movements as not really necessary - still manage to tax the living daylights out of those still in a position to afford to run a car.
This brings us to the 15 minute cities: 'no need to go anywhere, all will be provided within walking distance, even holidays that will necessitate transport will become a thing of the past.' This is the path many with their grubby fingers on the levers of power believe we are destined to take.
This of course is a rather bleak take on our future. Will it happen or will there be a backlash of note to change the government's direction? At the moment especially as regards private transport the runes have been cast.
Naturally any of this will only apply to the plebs. Khan's pristine metropolis with its mountain air will only be sullied by the Mayor's appearance in his Range Rover and supporting cast and we will all be grateful.