Thursday 6 January 2011

Ham(mond) and Pickle - the recipe for a green future

In a brave attempt to prove that rational thought and formulating transport policy are mutually exclusive activities, the intrepid duo of Philip Hammond and Eric Pickles have been bravely putting an end to the unconscionable war on the motorist, which has apparently been raging on our streets for years now.

Eric Pickles issued the first salvo this year by claiming that reducing parking charges will reduce congestion on our streets, and will end the "parking nightmare with stressed-out drivers running a gauntlet of unfair fines, soaring charges and a total lack of residential parking".

Running the gauntlet, eh? Very Indiana Jones.

Of course Waltham Forest are at the forefront of modern thinking in this regard - even before this announcement, they were busy replacing pavements with parking spaces.

Then, as if he had a bet with Pickles on who could make the least logical sense, Philip Hammond announced :

"For years politicians peddled the pessimistic, outdated attitude that they could only cut carbon emissions by forcing people out of their cars," he said. "But this Government recognises that cars are a lifeline for many people – and that by supporting the next generation of electric and ultra-low emission vehicles, it can enable sustainable green motoring to be a long-term part of future transport planning."

Because clearly electricity production is currently done by the electric fairies who don't emit any carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at all, and have infinite capacity. And obviously ultra low emission vehicles - well they sound like they might just simply eat up that nasty CO2 whilst emitting only daisies and whimsical thoughts.

Clearly electric and low emission cars do have one advantage in that they will be able to reduce traffic congestion over current nasty models. Oh wait....

Electric vehicles clearly have a major disadvantage at the moment of lack of range. So they are being marketed as "city" transport. Which simply means that our city streets will be clogged with quieter electric cars that do their pesky polluting remote to the point of use. Forgive me if I don't think this is quite the leap forward that Hammond hopes.

It doesn't seem to have struck anyone in government that supporting the use of a tonne of metal to transport a single individual on a short journey whilst we are collectively running headlong into environmental and energy crises maybe thought of as slightly odd.

Electric cars are promising to be the panacea to our collective guilt about profligate use of energy - the solution that allows us to give up nothing (and certainly not have to think of using pesky public transport, or even worse, the bicycle) whilst magically solving our environmental problems.

They aren't. 


  1. Wrote to my MP.

  2. I followed KatjaLeyendecker example and wrote to my MP using here template