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- but there is a better way forward!




In 2016 Sadiq Khan was elected Mayor of London on a bland manifesto pledging harmless-sounding measures. He would not have got elected if it had come out with punishing anti-motorist proposals like those in his draft Mayor’s Transport Strategy.


This page covers some of the wider proposals and looks at better possible alternatives.




·        Khan’s proposals are jaundiced by an unhealthy persistent prejudice against cars. For instance: “Most of the main causes of early death in London are linked to inactivity, including the two biggest killers – heart disease and cancer. This inactivity is in part due to an overdependence on cars, even for very short trips.”


“Linked to” is particularly cheap smear, as it does not require proof of cause and effect. Many people who use cars, even regularly, also exercise, and it has been estimated that 80% of cyclists also drive. Far from causing obesity, as some flat-earthers separately allege, driving is actually an activity that burns calories.

It is also accepted that it can contribute towards personal well-being.


Nobody calls for pensioners or teenagers to have their free bus passes taken away as it encourages ‘public transport dependency’ and discourages them from walking, for instance. If Khan considers that a walk to and from a stop or station, however short, can be an important part of staying healthy, then by the same standard so can a motorist walking to a car (which might be even further away).


For someone who is supposed to be so keen on exercise and healthy streets, there is quite a blind spot to the possibilities for forms of exercise that do not add to the pressure on road space – like jogging on the pavement or in the park, dancing, swimming and other sports.


·        The Vision Zero approach towards eliminating road deaths is hijacked to support the prejudice expressed as “reducing the dominance of motor vehicles on London’s streets.” Most road users successfully cope with busy streets without becoming casualties simply by observing the Highway Code.


Vision Zero is a quaint mix of the Quality Assurance concept of continuous improvement (which might in time reduce casualties) and various PC dogmas of dubious value, such as arbitrary 20mph speed limits that do not consistently produce the expected (i.e. hyped) results.


To illustrate the point, think of a parallel situation that would produce uproar at the draconian measures used. Just imagine that Khan announced that he would try to eliminate electrocution at home by ‘reducing the dominance of mains electricity in the home’ or ‘reducing mains electricity dependence’,


Just say that he tried to force residents to accept a lifestyle with less use of TV, washing machines, computers, fans etc, and insisted that they either were forced to rely on expensive batteries provided by the GLA or paid through the nose for mains electricity (with bureaucrats deciding what was ‘essential use’ and compiling a long list of restrictions to be enforced through smart meters).


The planned extreme crackdown on private car use would be no less unreasonable, and Londoners should not have to tolerate it.


·        Khan may recognise some value in training for motorcyclists and cyclists; and (less well outlined) training for drivers, including bus drivers. However his proposals offer no clear approach to deal with a growing blight of road danger – a thoughtless minority (often but not exclusively pedestrians) glued to mobile phones, headphones etc with little regard for other road users.


Although the introduction of pre-Compulsory Basic Training for motorcyclists is mentioned, there is no clear requirement for cycling proficiency training.


·        His Mayor’s Transport Strategy proposals were seen overall as anti-motorcyclist in an article in Biker and Bike magazine.


·        Khan’s proposed repressive measures against motorists on air quality grounds are sheer hypocrisy when you realise that he lays on large firework displays such as for New Year (repeatedly!) and promotes them at the Thames Festival.


·        Despite paying lip service to the principles of ‘robust’ and ‘compelling’ evidence, it proposes draconian measures on environmental grounds, sidestepping the GLA’s own evidence on figures for ‘premature deaths’ linked to NO2.


The 2013 publication ‘Better Environment, Better Health, A GLA guide for London’s Boroughs’ admits they are just a statistical manipulation – they do not relate to real individuals. The Transport Watch publication ‘The Great Dirty Diesel Scare’ also exposes a lack of confidence in the figures.


Khan could also level with us over “Nearly half of the health impacts of pollution in London is from dirty air blown in from outside the capital, including diesel and industrial fumes from Paris and other parts of the Continent." (Evening Standard, 15.7.15). Something that is not directly controllable by the GLA.


Also that the Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology admits a number of uncertainties on air quality issues.


·        The legality of the entire consultation is suspect. A 2014 Supreme Court case (UKSC56, Moseley v Haringey) established some principles. A fair consultation should ensure that those being consulted receive all relevant information – note in particular Khan’s lack of costings for what he hopes Londoners will nod through and then have to pay for!


A fair consultation should also set out alternative approaches. Yet Khan effectively presents a package of measures to rubber-stamp rather than discussing any real alternative approaches, at least those that would not involve a heavy-handed crackdown on motorists.




·        How about some measures that would actually make life easier for those who use their car? Such as providing more underground car parking as is found in continental Europe?


Such as improving the efficiency of the roads by letting cars use bus priority lanes when not in actual use by a bus? This would mean ending 24 hour ‘car exclusion lanes’. Maybe other bus lanes could be treated as a box junction that can be entered so long as the exit is clear, or the lane could be ‘switched on’ to enable its use by cars as conditions permit?


·        Plans could at least consider if cycleways above ground level could provide a fast segregated space for cyclists without taking space away from other road users? These might be equipped with elevators and covered to protect cyclists from bad weather conditions.


·        Other non-drastic proposals for environmental improvements have been suggested e.g. in the publication ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’ and In the publication ‘Urban Air Quality and Public Health’ and by Fair Fuel UK (references 1 and 2).




Of previous pages outlining the proposals, the first covers:


  • The threat of extending the Congestion Charge (road pricing) Londonwide, with boroughs charging motorists to use local roads
  • New ways of paying for road use, with a view to slashing car use
  • Taxation levels to discourage ownership of conventional vehicles
  • The desire to take over VED (‘road tax’) and set the level.


The second covers:


  • Measures to discourage car use
  • Measures to reallocate road space away from drivers
  • Gratuitous ‘car-free days’ and road closures using flimsy excuses
  • Pernicious gestures against personal freedom, even on car-sharing!


The third covers.


  • A ‘workplace parking levy’ – a tax on going to work
  • Higher parking charges for conventional vehicles
  • Reduction in the availability of private parking
  • Hints about reducing station parking and drop-off points.


The above pages provide information on how to simply object to the proposals.

Please object a.s.a.p. and get your friends to do the same.

The Mayor and his PC crew are counting on you doing nothing and just paying up!




·       FOOTNOTE


Mayor Khan bizarrely perceives that London’s motorists ‘pay too little’ and are even subsidised by public transport users! No figures are given to support this.


In the UK, motorists pay approx. 4-5 times over for using the road. Using broad figures for illustration only (although a pattern has been consistent in recent years)


  • You could justify a UK tax take figure of between £33bn and £49bn a year. Based on population, pro rata, London’s share is about 1/8. This would give a contribution to public funds from London’s motorists of approx. £4-6bn a year.
  • A ballpark annual spend on roads for all of Greater London is about £1bn, around 1/8 of the UK spend. This will also be used for things that don’t benefit motorists such as depressed speed limits, and money wasted by TFL on the likes of ‘Green Street Art’ and the 'Edible Bus Stop collective of activists' (see p157, p153 of reference).
  • In 2017-8 Central grants to the GLA group (£2.6bn) and London boroughs (£8.4bn) are planned to reach about £11bn (for general purposes).
  • The English local government finance settlement is accounted for separately from Department for Transport highways grants.



References: MTS physical pages 6. 32-34, 52, 64, 66, 133  in the PDF (/151)






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