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Open Letter to Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

To: Mr. Sadiq Kahn, The Right Worshipful Mayor of London,

Your Excellency,


A PROPOSAL TO REDUCE VEHICLE EMISSIONS IN LONDON


Mr. Mayor, under your leadership, London has made great strides to reduce vehicle emissions and you deserve every accolade you’ve received for your efforts in this regard.

There is always the opportunity to do more however, as the air quality problem in the UK’s major cities won’t be solved by one, two, or even three programmes or directives — such is the scale of the problem that has enveloped the City since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

Therefore, please consider this proposal as a complementary and/or alternative solution to your innovative and existing vehicle emissions and congestion charges legislation.


I PROPOSE STICKERS FOR CARS AND TRUCKS BASED ON FUEL TYPE AND DAILY USE IN LONDON

Drivers who opt for ‘the cleanest fuel type’ will be rewarded with ‘lower daily use charges’ while those choosing high-polluting vehicles would pay comparatively more.

For example:

  1. Electric Vehicles (EV) travelling in the City of London would be required to place a GREEN coloured sticker inside the front windscreen — and EV’s would be charged £10. per day (via sticker ID number/OCR street camera) for each day it is driven in the city. On days where the vehicle isn’t driving in the city, no charge would occur.
  2. Hybrid-Electric Vehicles (PHEV & HEV) travelling in the City of London would be required to place a BLUE coloured sticker inside the front windscreen — and such a vehicle would be charged £20. per day (via sticker ID number/OCR street camera) for each day it is driven in the city. On days where the vehicle isn’t driving in the city, no charge would occur.
  3. Petrol Vehicles (ICE) travelling in the City of London would be required to place a RED coloured sticker inside the front windscreen — and ICE vehicles would be charged £30. per day (via sticker ID number/OCR street camera) for each day it is driven in the city. On days where the vehicle isn’t driving in the city, no charge would occur.
  4. Diesel Vehicles (ICED) travelling in the City of London would be required to place a YELLOW coloured sticker inside the front windscreen — and ICED vehicles would be charged £40. per day (via sticker ID number/OCR street camera) for each day it is driven in the city. On days where the vehicle isn’t driving in the city, no charge would occur.
  5. Vehicles not registered with the City of London would pay £50. per day (via licence plate/OCR street camera) for each day it is driven in the city. On days where the vehicle isn’t driving in the city, no charge would occur.

And those people who choose to leave their cars at home on any given day (possibly choosing to take public transit or carpool with friends/co-workers) or walk to their destination, etc., would save themselves a significant amount of money annually.


(1) Rewarding Drivers Who Choose Less Polluting Vehicles & (2) Lowering the Aggregate Miles Driven Annually on London Streets Will (3) Result in Cleaner Air & Less Congestion in the City of London

While I have no studies to prove my assertions, I believe the financial situation of every driver who drives in the City of London will prompt their choice of vehicle and allow them to self-regulate their decision to drive, walk, or take public transit to their destinations.

Consequently, this programme would help drivers who use London’s road network switch more quickly to less polluting cars and trucks, and may find themselves choosing to walk or take public transit more often to their destinations. While this may not be true in every case, I imagine that it will be true for many Londoners and those who travel through the City of London.

Perhaps a poll could be arranged to ask drivers;

‘Would you like to ‘pay more per day’ to continue driving your polluting vehicle on London streets, or would you like to ‘save money by switching’ to a more environmentally friendly mode of transportation?’


NOTES:

  • I feel that taxicabs should be exempt from these fees.
  • I feel that government fleets should be exempt from these fees.
  • I feel that car rental companies should be exempt from these fees.
  • I feel that buses operated by any person or company should be exempt from these fees.
  • Transport companies (trucking firms) could receive a discount for monthly or annual prepayment.
  • Exempt all vehicles between 12:00am–6:00am to encourage driving during the least-busy hours of the day.
  • A link on the City of London website could allow drivers to register their vehicle and have their stickers mailed to them.

Conclusion

In closing, your excellency, I hope that in this way the City of London could serve as a template for UK metropolitan areas with a population of one million or more.

Further, I wish to thank you for your diligent efforts to solve the longstanding and challenging air quality problem in London, and for allowing me the gift of your valuable time to read this well-meant proposal.

Kindest regards,

John Brian Shannon
Publisher of LetterToBritain.com

Thumbnail image courtesy of: EconomicTimesIndiaTimes.com

A Day in London: 2020

by John Brian Shannon

Welcome to London, 2020. You’re in the former Battersea Power Station where the British International Motor Show is being held this week!

Artist rendering of the renovated Battersea Power Station in London, UK that will be home to Apple Inc.

Artist rendering of the renovated Battersea Power Station in London, UK — Apple’s UK & Commonwealth HQ. Business Insider

Apple Inc’s new UK & Commonwealth HQ is full of Alan Turing-esqe brilliant people glad to be hosting the show in their auric new building — and for the first time anywhere, iDrive (Apple’s shiny new hydrogen powered car) is on public display.

Aside from its obviously stunning design, the best thing about this car is that it can’t be stolen because unless the owner of the car is within a few feet of the car with his/her iPhone on and logged-in to the iDrive app, it is just a piece of aluminum, glass and plastic that can’t go anywhere. There’s no computer or operating system to allow the car do anything at all, save for the iDrive app in your iPhone or iPad.

apple icar concept car in london, uk

Early Apple iCar concept.

No iPhone or iPad? Then you’re not the owner of the car. Because a matching serial number iPhone & iPad is provided with each Apple Car, with thumbprint security and as many passwords or login captchas as you want. It’s up to you.

Even if someone steals your iPhone and manages to locate your car, you can always “Log out of all devices and apps” remotely from any computer or smart phone on the planet — including the app that drives your beautiful new Apple Car. (Stolen car coasts to side of road, wholly inactive)

Now, that’s what I call a user-friendly car ownership experience.


And Brexit, You Ask? Pshaw!

Brexit came and went a long time ago. Neither Project Fear or the extreme Brexiteers were right; The UK coasted through 2019, Brexiting on March 29 as scheduled and other than a temporary blip in the markets things continued as normal. Yes, even the Sun rose in the sky the next day. Astonishing!

But not really. For all the hype, compared to other events taking place in the world Brexit turned out to be a sideshow. Only hyperventilating European politicians on both sides of the English Channel noticed Brexit.

After dipping to 1.2% GDP growth in 2019, the UK recovered and is now looking at 2% growth for 2021 — not due to Brexit — but due to the fact that Remainers are no longer sabotaging the UK economy hoping for it to fail so they could get their way.

Since the summer of 2019, the UK joined the USMCA (the new NAFTA agreement) and the CPTPP, and the new Commonwealth of Nations Free Trade Accord (CNFTA). In 2020, the UK has signed trade agreements with countries that have a combined population of 5 billion+ people.

A free trade deal with the EU (based on the excellent CETA agreement the EU has with Canada) is expected to be signed by the end of 2020 and go into effect on January 1, 2021.

Food shortages, rioting, family strife, civil war? Not a bit of it.

Every politician who tried to make a career out of Brexit is gone. Whether extreme Brexiteer, extreme Remainer, whether continental European or Briton; Every politician who held an extreme Brexit position was invited by their respective parties (and voters, hehehe) to leave politics.

Enjoy the day Britons, legal migrants to the UK, and visitors! You’ve earned it.

Oh, and the UK and the EU signed a modified Withdrawal Agreement on the 11th-hour of March 28th, 2019. But you knew that.

Preparing for a Post-Brexit UK: Transportation

by John Brian Shannon

So many people are caught up in the present Brexit moment they forget there will be life after the official Brexit date of March 29, 2019.

With that in mind, policymakers must begin to focus on the problems that will still be with us in the immediate post-Brexit timeframe.

Q: Why can’t they do that now?

A: Because their hands may be tied by present EU regulations, or everyone is waiting to see what kind of Brexit deal the UK gets, or they’re busy advising business groups and the government how to maximize their Brexit advantage.

So let’s begin the post-Brexit era by solving problems we know will still remain after Brexit day — and use solutions that aren’t presently viable due to EU regulations or norms.


Ask Any Londoner and They’ll Tell You their Worst Daily Problem is City Traffic

Actually, the worst problem Londoners face is the weather. But the City’s notorious traffic congestion starts early, the roads become increasingly packed with vehicles, air pollution levels skyrocket, life occasionally becomes dangerous for pedestrians, and it wastes millions of hours of time every year.

Not only London, but Manchester, Birmingham, Belfast, Edinburgh and other UK cities force drivers to spend countless hours stuck in traffic and millions of gallons of petrol are wasted annually as cars and lorries inch along the country’s congested roadways.

Of course nothing can be done about it — because if something could be done it would’ve already been done! Right?

Except there is a way to decrease traffic congestion: Theresa May’s first legislation following Brexit should be to ban all lorries from operating within cities of 1 million inhabitants or more — from 6:00am until 6:00pm every weekday.

Lorries could still cross from the continent on ferries or via the Chunnel, operate in the countryside, passing through towns and smaller cities and arrive at (for example) London’s Ring Road anytime after 6:00pm each weekday. Yes, they’d need to obtain ‘the key to the shop’ to unload the shipment at ‘Mom & Dad’s Deli’ or perhaps drop an appropriately sized (and electronically locked) crate full of goods on the loading dock.

It’s a scheduling issue for freight companies; As long as their large vehicles are parked or otherwise off the UK’s major city roads by 6:00am each weekday they won’t incur automatic/electronic fines and they’ll be able to go on with the rest of their day as normal.

Trash haulers, freight delivery, fuel trucks and other transporters will simply adjust their schedules to comply with the weekday hours ban.


List the of Benefits of Such a Plan!

Think of Britain’s major cities free of lorries within their city limits from 6:00am until 6:00pm every weekday:

  1. Less traffic, less traffic noise, less congestion and less gridlock.
  2. Increased parking availability.
  3. Better visibility for cars, cyclists and pedestrians equals fewer accidents and lower NHS spending.
  4. Lower air pollution levels on weekdays result in fewer respiratory emergencies, thereby saving the NHS budget millions annually and helping the UK to meet its international clean air commitments.
  5. Although lorry drivers would work different hours, they’d have far less traffic to deal with between the hours of 6:00pm and 6:00am, their big rigs would have acres of room to maneuver around in and they’d easily find parking to offload or load their goods.
  6. An automatic/electronic fine for lorries that enter the city during banned hours of the day could go towards building major lorry parking/queuing areas on the outskirts of major cities. Perhaps a great place to set up coffee shops and motels dedicated to truckers so they can grab a few hours sleep before their afternoon shift/night shift begins? And (while they sleep during the day) have their big rig repaired at a shop within the secure ‘Trucker Zone’ area. If so, I want to invest in those dedicated Trucker Zones — talk about having a captive audience! — the lorries can’t leave until 6:00pm and if they do they would automatically incur a £100 fine as soon as they pass the “City Limits” sign a few feet down the road!
  7. Trucking companies could arrange to have a fully loaded lorry parked and ready to roll at such ‘Trucker Zones’ for each night shift driver to pick up at the beginning of his/her shift and provide a safe place to drop it off in the morning.
  8. Lorry drivers should gain free and hassle-free parking anywhere in the city between 6:00pm and 6:00am and receive special consideration from police in case a lorry driver happens to park in front of a ‘No Parking Zone’ for the few minutes it takes to deliver the load. As hardly anyone is around in the middle of the night and there’s no traffic, why make an issue of minor parking rules?
  9. Lorries leaving major UK cities at 6:00am could pull into the ‘Trucker Zone’ nearest them at the end of their shift, leaving the lorry there for the daytime driver to carry on with the day shift’s rural deliveries/pick ups.
  10. National productivity could be enhanced by requiring lorries to remain outside city limits (or parked within the City) during the daytime hours, giving them free run in cities until 6:00am.
  11. Cities might notice more lorry traffic at the weekend. However, the vast majority of cars aren’t on city roads during the weekend so lorry traffic won’t be too onerous.

Certainly, traffic and congestion in the UK aren’t the fault of the EU, but in the post-Brexit timeframe UK regulators will have a freer hand to solve many issues. Traffic congestion is a problem that affects everyone whether you drive a car, ride a bus, pedal a bike, own a business, or are a tourist who wants to get from tourist site “A” to tourist site “B” and not spend the whole day at it.

Cities depend upon free movement of goods and people. Moving to a two-track plan to obtain better use from city roads could radically change how we use cities. And the day after Brexit is as good a time as any to begin making the best use of those valuable assets.


Image courtesy of motortransport.co.uk