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Good point about the increased mass of EVs, Ed. Another good case for fewer vehicles on roads? In practice the kinetic energy which might be released in a crash is only directly proportional to the mass rather than than the square of the velocity (KE=½mv²) so a 25% increase in mass of the vehicle is likely to be less damaging than a 50% increase in speed from 20mph to 30mph, albeit there could be other factors such as vehicle design and manufacturing differences in a vehicle/vehicle collision.All the more need to reduce speeds to minimise casualties, particularly between vehicles and pedestrians or cyclists, or perhaps a case for better separation between them?The comments on acceleration were interesting. I've only driven an eGolf EV but I did feel it would be easy to over accelerate, but I also feel less control in an automatic without a clutch to balance against the accelerator - perhaps it's just a case of familiarisation! (Also, replacing proper handbrakes with what's essentially an on/off switch plus some software also seems to be taking away more control, but perhaps it avoids replacing stretched handbrake cables …) I wonder if there are slightly more serious accidents because one reaches the speed limit sooner with faster acceleration (that is, in a 20 mph zone slightly more accidents occur at or closer to 20 mph rather than slower speeds as one reaches the limit sooner) or if there's more tendency to speed because of drivers being careless about checking how fast they're going when they accelerate more quickly?

Michael Ixer ● 11d

Interesting to see this interview with Sadiq Khan in the Telegraph. Apparently, he does use public transport unless instructed by the police otherwise. (Not sure who can get behind the paywall; my Google news feed let me read the whole article but I've just clipped the bits below on his use of public transport and comments on ULEZ. Interesting the Telegraph covered this.)

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2023/03/11/sadiq-khan-ulez-boris-johnsons-policy-stole/

Khan using public transport: [It is 12.7 miles from Sadiq Khan’s home in Earlsfield, south-west London to the new City Hall in Docklands. Before meeting Khan, I’d imagined him traversing London in his mayoral car, meditating on the city’s many splendours while navigating London’s clogged traffic before finally arriving at his office.

In fact, none of that is true. Unless instructed by the police to be driven in an unmarked official vehicle, Khan travels to the office by tube and the Docklands Light Railway.

People tend to ignore him, or politely pretend to. “It’s that very British thing, people just get on with reading their newspaper or their phone. Sometimes someone will ask for a selfie or there’s a thumbs up, or ‘keep it going’.”]

Khan, comments on ULEZ: [The Ulez currently covers the area inside the North and South Circular Roads, but Khan intends to expand the zone to cover all of Greater London – effectively taking it up to most roads inside the M25 motorway. Under the scheme, planned to be introduced in August, drivers of non-compliant vehicles (e.g. a pre-2016 diesel car or pre-2006 petrol car) within the extended zone must pay a daily charge of £12.50. This includes residents of the Ulez.

The plan has come up against opposition from councils in outer London and the home counties, who mainly argue that the zone’s expansion will do little to improve air quality – and that it is being introduced at the worst possible time, because of the cost of living crisis.

An independent poll commissioned earlier this year suggested that 60 per cent of Londoners oppose the scheme. But Khan disputes its findings. “It was a loaded poll and it’s been dismissed by a lot of polling experts. The poll that’s been done with a straight question shows that twice as many Londoners support the scheme as are opposed to it – 51 per cent are in favour of expansion, 27 per cent are against it.”

London has historically faced major public health challenges, and “brave politicians in the past have not ducked in taking them on”, he says. The Great Stink of 1858, when hot weather exacerbated the stench of raw sewage dumped in the Thames, led to the introduction of a functioning sewage system. The choking smog of the 1950s led to “a really brave Conservative government”, moving power stations from the centre of the city in the face of fierce trade union opposition, protesting by the way,tolen Boris Johnson’s” he says. “In 2013, Johnson announced he
London has historically faced major public health challenges, and “brave politicians in the pastg them on”, he says. The Great Stink of 1858, when hot weather exacerbated the stench of raw sewage dumped in the Thames, led to the introduction of a functioning sewage system. The choking smog of the 1950s led to “a really brave Conservative government”, moving power stations from the centre of the city in the face of fierce trade union opposition, protesting about loss of jobs.

“And by the way, this isn’t my policy. I’ve stolen Boris Johnson’s” he says. “In 2013, Johnson announced he would be doing a Ulez. But he did that classic thing that politicians do; he announced something that he left for other politics to do. I’m going to see it through.”

Since its introduction in 2019, the Ulez has reduced harmful pollution levels in central London by almost half. Over the past 12 months alone, Ulez has reduced nitrogen dioxide levels in central London by 46 per cent. Five million more Londoners will breathe cleaner air if the Ulez expands to cover the whole city.

According to a study by Imperial College, every year 4,000 people die prematurely because of poor air quality. “It’s an invisible killer. And when you look at those 4,000 deaths, the largest number are in outer London, where you have a greater number of old people for whom bad air quality makes them more susceptible to heart disease and other factors. In London there are 500,000 people suffering from asthma and respiratory issues.”

The scheme, he goes on, will save the NHS £10.5 billion, because it will not be treating people with asthma and respiratory issues. “The CBI says it will save businesses £1.6 billion a year because staff won’t be off sick with respiratory issues.”

Talking of money, analysis by The Daily Telegraph suggests Ulez is on track to be a penalty bonanza for the mayor. Fines for failing to pay the charge will increase from £160 to £180, and those collected during the first 11 months of 2022 totalled £56,995,835. The scheme is not allowed to be “revenue generating” and Khan has pledged to plough all the money made from the new charge into better public transport and active travel. Ulez, he insists, is not about raising revenue: “It’s about reducing the number of non-compliant vehicles, which means you pay zero, and to make the air quality better.”

Looking to the future, as more cars go electric, he says he wants to see an electric charging point “on every street in London”. There are 11,000 electric charging points in the capital – a third of the UK total.]

What about those who can’t afford to replace their car, let alone with an electric one? Khan has a plan, and says he has found £110 million to support people make the transition “without a penny of support from the Government”.]


Michael Ixer ● 12d

It was interesting that Piers also managed to get a dig in at his brother for following the standard climate change science. It seemed unnecessary and irrelevant in the context of ULEZ, LTNs, etc. Yes, as Richard says, it was ironic that the meeting started 20-30 minutes late as a speaker was held up in traffic: a great case for using public transport?I did wonder how many people understood what the first speaker said about the legal action being taken. I  found his explanation rather disjointed - perhaps my lack of legal training - but it seemed to rely in part on legal technicalities, party to reduce costs? and challenging the TfL statements relating air quality? If the barrister isn't more coherent Khan and TfL will win hands down. Please feel free to clarify?What is interesting is that the speakers ignored the fact even the motor industry doesn't consider the current model of car ownership sustainable. They see car sharing and Uber style on demand services, possibly using autonomous driving vehicles, with the manufacturers preferring to retain ownership of the vehicles. There was a lot of concern about cameras. Well, if one's worried about surveillance then the police already have a network of ANPR cameras they use for tracking criminals. The concern ought to be the current government's moves to reduce data privacy and protection legislation; it's not having the data (it helps solve a lot of crimes) but how it could be used for other purposes without strict regulations. And no one mentioned that modern cars have tracking computers that some people accept to reduce insurance  costs and would likely be the mechanism for any future road charging scheme. There seems to be a mentality that road charging is bad but given the lack of road space - as evidenced by a speaker's late arrival(!) - doesn't it make sense to charge for it? 

Michael Ixer ● 12d