Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

London's Proposed ULEZ Expansion...Basic Freedoms Under Threat

ULEZ_2 Freedom under threat

With little discussion most of the world (the democratic west at least) is in a race to a net zero bottom. Scientific evidence is manipulated to 'prove' carbon damage. Normal climate variations that have existed since the world began are now labelled a 'Climate emergency'. Scientists who disagree are silenced by withdrawal of funding and or loss of their jobs. Those prepared to promote the net zero message are rewarded with research funding and jobs. It is a long established fact that when scientists come up with diametrically opposed conclusions, for example 'Wine is good for you' and 'Any alcohol consumption is dangerous'. The answer will be found by looking at who funded the 'research'.

The climate cult poses an existential threat to human life on earth. Politicians in pursuit of their eco brownie points are not just ignorant of the facts, but dismissive of calls for a proper examination of facts. We are stuck in a situation reminiscent of the 1930s when to question appeasement was blasphemous. We escaped the consequences of that idiocy by the skin of our teeth. Unless we wake up now, we will not be so lucky in avoiding the genocide that the climate cult will inflict on humanity. Prior to the industrial revolution (the Golden age that Climate Cultists seek to return to) the world's population was one billion. In 2022 it was Eight billion and, it is projected. will reach 9.7 billion by 2030. The net zero cult followers do not explain what there [plans are for all those people. All will need food and medicine. Our ability to cope with population growth is a direct result of the Industrial revolution. Commercial growers increase CO2 in greenhouses to improve yields.

Farmers in the Netherlands are fighting to stop their government closing down many farms in the interest of complying with the EU's net zero rules. The Dutch PM, Mark Rutte, refuses to debate the issue with farmers. A recent protest was effectively banned and water cannon used against those who dared to exercise their right to protest. This matters because the Dutch are the second-largest exporters of agricultural products in the world. EU success in damaging agriculture in the Netherlands will have worldwide consequences.

It is not only food under attack. Commerce, industry and everyday life is being impacted.

                                                       The report below by Rod Reed MA Cantab on Londons expanded ULEZ zone highlights that issue.

The proposed ULEZ expansion from London's South Circular Road to the M25 perimeter represents a dangerous moment in the career of Mayor Sadiq Khan. Supposedly a Labour politician, his idea of extending tolling across the Capital and Boroughs will adversely affect the standard of living of low paid workers, the elderly on fixed incomes and even disabled drivers who have only been granted a grace period. The implications of this punishing tax are only now sinking in with the measures due to come in on August 29th 2023. The scale of the levy is brutal with weekly charges of up to £84 and annually £4550 assuming daily usage. A chronic issue looming is that many or up to half of the key workers London needs come from outside the area and so those on overnight shift work will pay £25 on non compliant vehicles just to come up to town and serve the public! Further complications will ensue with a wide range of small and large businesses from Asda to Heathrow airport harmed by staff being penalised to get to their employment. Some will inevitably choose to find jobs in their own region but without the costs and hassle.

Jacobs consultants in their 'Interim Impact Assessment Report' have highlighted many of these issues but the Mayor is not listening. He has also 'U' turned on respecting the rest of the GLA consultation which conclusively found 60% against the ULEZ changes and some 7% saying al least not know and all this with the Daily Telegraph citing that figures had been altered to favour the Mayor's case. Those travelling from outside London have had no say in the proposals and have effectively been disenfranchised, a classic case of taxation but no representation!

Faced with a Mayor who thinks he knows best about how to tackle air pollution, it will not surprise readers to learn that the alternatives to road tolling have not been considered other than a blanket London wide tax. Fortunately, for opponents of the scheme, excellent alternatives do exist which will make the Capital cleaner and more attractive. Conservatives on the GLA have set out some of these including upgrading the bus fleet of which only 7% is zero emissions and tree planting zones. Research by The Nature Conservancy in the US in 2016 and more recently, two English universities, Leicester and Surrey found that targeted planting on busy routes would reduce emissions by up to 25%. A combination of bespoke specimens such as Silver Birch and hedging such as Cotoneaster franchetii were found to be particularly effective in soaking up carbon according to an RHS study in 2021. Typically a hectare of mixed age trees can absorb 118 tonnes of carbon and a spokesman for the GLA has stated a target of 27,000 of carbon emissions through ULEZ expansion so 229 hectares of urban planting would achieve the same result. This strategy would be in combination with encouraging electric vehicles and low polluters and resolving some of the issues associated with payment apps and poor mobile signal. Controversial low traffic neighbourhoods should also be largely scrapped as they force traffic on to busy roads, making pollution worse and disproportionately affecting poorer communities.

National tree planting is way down on its targets of 30,000 per year by 2030 and last year only 3000 hectares in England were planted out of 13000 elsewhere in the British Isles. A major investment in tree planting on congested routes in London would redress this balance in the British Isles and also the Government could point out the lack of action by the Mayor who promised to plant 2 million trees but has woefully failed to do so.

Action is now needed from Westminster in collaboration with the GLA and Councils to mount a two pronged legal and financial challenge to the Mayor and this must be done as a matter of urgency before contracts go out to install cameras and signage. The basis of the challenge could be the Mayor's failure to stick to The Gunning Principles which are firmly established in statute and outline how consultations should be carried out and the need for proper and full public information. Under principle 4, it can be argued that 'conscientious consideration' was not given to the consultation responses before the decision was made. The Government grants funding to the GLA and as part of this the Gunning provisions must be respected so money could be withheld from TFL. Another line of attack is using existing legislation on Equality 2010 Act and Human Rights legislation as heavy tolls will harm citizens' rights to mobility, go to work, shop, enjoy their neighbourhood and visit friends.

Finally, if you are reading this and have an electric car and feel you will not be affected by tolling, think again. The Mayor has already said he wants a Singapore style system so everyone will pay per mile. If he gets a third term in Office there is every possibility that he will bring this in. He needs to be stopped now with well reasoned and popular arguments that give Londoners relief from excessive Socialist minded taxation and underline the importance of civil liberties and freedom to travel in the world's most diverse and dynamic City.

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