Ban of Diesel, Petrol and Hybrid from 2035

The UK Government has decided to ban the sale of new diesel, petrol and even hybrid vehicles from 2035. But in our attempt to show off our green credentials, will it really solve anything?

The technology and practicality in electric cars are still too far behind what they should be, that Im not sure we should be setting an arbitrary cut off point of 2035. That should be an ambition, not a target.

One size, doesn't fit all. Unless you can afford a £70k on a Tesla, then for many people, Electric vehicles are simply too impractical. We enjoy holidays on Coast, yet many second hand electric vehicles have appalling range - for only nine hours of charging, you too can travel 120 miles! Then there's space requirements. What if you're an avid camper, someone who plays in a band or simply needs an SUV to transport equipment?

The roads are already congested, simply moving to electric, isn't going to improve congestion. Local authorities want to get Petrol and Diesel cars out of the city to achieve their green targets. Yet we're being very short sighted. We're not dealing with a problem, we're moving it elsewhere. We're moving the pollution and the congestion to the ring road. And once everyone has electric vehicles? We're still going to have congestion.

So perhaps we should look at moving people onto public transport. Again, we're moving the problem. We're moving people onto already congested railways. And once you've taxed the car drivers out of their cars, there will be no money left for the railways. Who will have to pay? The rail user.

We don't want the expense of HS2, but neither do we want endless years of chaos on the railways as every bit of the rail network is upgraded to provide extra capacity for all those car drivers making the switch.

Once again however, the problem is our one size fits all attitude. For a lot of people, public transport is simply not practical. I can drive to work within 45 minutes compared to two hours by public transport. A car provides the flexibility of being able to get anywhere and any when - making a detour last minute to take a pet to a vet, to visit a family member who's ill, to get medication from the pharmacy, to see your doctor, your dentist, take someone to work before going yourself, visiting the cinema after work and getting home on time, taking rubbish for recycling to the city dump. Then there's the equipment you can carry. And there's people like me, who, while not qualifying for a blue badge, still finds it difficult to get around due to a previous knee injury and quite frankly, sitting on a bus absolutely destroys my knee with severe pain because Im unable to stretch out.

What we're going to do, is that we're going to ignore all these nuances of car travel, and just say car travel is bad and you can do everything by public transport. No you can't. Treating everyone the same is wrong. Everyone is not the same. We would be wise to understand that before we shape policy. We need to understand the journeys people make, understand that some car journeys are essential, and necessary and that some are simply unavoidable, but then work within that framework to mirror those journeys within public transport to give people a suitable viable alternative.

I don't trust the government or the civil service to understand this. As an example, the government gives grants to those buying a new Electric car. Who in their right mind, can afford £35k on a new car (which is the average cost of a new electric vehicle like a Nissan Leaf or Renault Zoe). Most of us buy second hand vehicles. Why do we give the breaks to the wealthy? Why not give help to the poor to buy second hand vehicles? Help for people to install charging points? Or to convert our diesel cars to "AdBlue" systems. The fact that the government does not "get" this, makes me think that this isn't about the environment. It's about money. It's about stimulating the car market. If it was about the environment, we'd be utilising this technology to make our cars cleaner and keep them on the road longer in order to make the very best out of all the energy that went into creating the car.

If we were to get rid of cars, we will just focus the problem onto an already over crowded public transport system with it's lack of flexibility.

What if the real problem, is simply the journeys that we make? There's people who live in Birmingham but work in Coventry, people who live in Coventry and work in Leamington, people who live in Leamington and work in Birmingham.

Does this not sound rather perverse?

Should we not be living closer to our jobs, or getting jobs closer to home? Is it not incumbent upon national employers to help move their employees closer to their home?

If we were to incentivise employees and employers to encourage people to live within a short distance to work by means of tax breaks for people who live under ten miles to work for example, we wouldn't need to use our cars to much, congestion would be reduced, and public transport usage would diminish. We automatically become greener because we use our vehicles less because we have no need for them. Yet for those who DO need them, the infirm, the disabled, those who find it difficult to get around, those with more errands to do than Nanny McPhee even those who use the car from time to time to go on holiday, could still use their old, dirty, diesel or petrol car, because we're not banning the car - we're reducing the distance people travel to work and therefore reducing the necessity for travel and therefore the car.

That to me is the future. House Prices may stabilise around the jobs in the local area. Perhaps we could go back to a time of mining villages where big employers provide accomodation for their employees? What about going back to a mix of residential and commercial property so that you can walk to the local shops instead of going to the big retail park on the outskirts of town?

There's more than one way to tackle emissions and road usage without being heavy handed on those who rely on cars without simply creating policies which do nothing to tackle the underlying problem.


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