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ORAC
25th Sep 2005, 06:31
£20 Toll to use M4 into London (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1796281,00.html)

MOTORISTS travelling to and from London on the M4 face a toll of up to £20 under plans being considered by the Department for Transport to cut pollution around Heathrow airport. The charge, which could start at £5 to £10 in 2008, would be the first mandatory levy on drivers using Britainís motorway network. It would rise to about £20 in 2015 to ensure that stringent European emissions targets are met, clearing one of the hurdles for the construction of a third runway at Heathrow.......

TheOddOne
25th Sep 2005, 09:55
ANY toll or congestion charge like this can be regarded as anti-social as it penalises most those least able to pay.

The best way long-term of improving vehicle emissions is through the construction & use regulations demanding less than a given output from vehicles. If this included the maximum amount of CO2 a vehicle could produce, it would automatically force manufacturers to make more fuel-efficient engines and the gas-guzzlers would fade away. As the national vehicle fleet churns about 90% over 10 years, by 2015 the results should have been achieved. The current emission regulations don't go anywhere near far enough - they've concentrated on local pollutants such as lead, carbon monoxide and particulates but a lot more could be done to demand very low or no kerbside emissions, apart from H2O.

There's not enough incentive at the moment to make any serious inroads into vehicle efficiency - we're just nibbling at the edges at the moment. 500 MPG should be achievable for the sort of vehicle you want to drive around town - you really don't need to be able to do 0-60 in 5 secs and 130 MPH in London.

More fuel tax is another answer. Many people are really disappointed that this Govt. has wimped out here. No-one is going to demand a more fuel-efficient vehicle if the cost of fuel is still seen as affordable. I'm quite hypocritical here - neither of our vehicles does much better than 45 MPG, 1 diesel & t'other petrol.

Electric and Hydrogen vehicles should get much more of a tax break than they do now. The government could do a lot more by making all Govt. depts go for these. The typical Departmental motor pool is Ford Fiesta/Focus for the troops...

Of course, another answer is to remove the need for all these jouneys in the first place. Millions of people go through the daily misery of commuting - why do they all do it? Ther must be a better way of getting people to make a contribution to the economy and to society without making them all do this twice a day.

The Odd One

Unwell_Raptor
25th Sep 2005, 10:24
You are perfectly right Mr. Odd, but the motoring lobby is so boneheaded that no government will be able to sell the idea. Unrestricted speed and cheap fuel are the only two demands that the petrolheads can comprehend.

Two basic facts are impossible to alter: one is that the South East of England is crowded to capacity and there is no room to ease things by road building, and the other is that oil supplies are under pressure that is likely to increase inexorably. The £1 litre is a reality in some places and because price is driven by marginal demand there is no reason not to expect that to double within a decade.

If you look at Victorian factories and mills in the North the owner's house is usually built close by. Now it is perfectly normal for people to commute 50 or 100 miles daily, despite the huge advances in electronic communications.

The only way to ease congestion and to get OPEC's thumbs off our windpipe is to eliminate gas guzzlers, and to ration roadspace by price. In a free society price is the only mechanism that will change people's behaviour. Any chance it will happen? I doubt it.

seacue
25th Sep 2005, 11:53
I understand that there has been a sort of heavy lorry "toll" system for some time.

Years ago we had a Deputy Inspector from a police department in one of London's surrounding counties seconded to us for an extended period.

For lorries large enough to need police escort through/into London it wasn't unknown for the Metropolitan Police to ask whether the driver wanted the "short route". There was a service fee for the short route.

soddim
25th Sep 2005, 15:29
There seems to be a bit of a problem here in that the motorist is likely to be hit in order to compensate for the increased emissions caused by air travel.

We already have high taxes on fuel for motorists and none on air travellers.

Why not tax air travel fuel (and therefore emissions) the same as motoring fuel?

TheOddOne
25th Sep 2005, 16:01
Soddim,

Good point, but the situation specifically here is more complicated.

In order to get approval to build a 3rd parallel runway to the north of Heathrow, polluting emissions in the area must not exceed a certain value. Whilst it is admitted that aircraft do produce quantities of such, the majority of emissions measured around our airports come from vehicles, not a/c. Now, it can be argued that the road traffic volume causing these is generated because of the aircraft, but on the other hand it could be because of general economic activity going up all the time, anyway.

Whatever the cause, local emissions must be brought under control before the runway can go ahead.

Perhaps we'll get someone arguing for dirtier, smellier vehicles, just to prevent the runway from being built!

Cheers,
The Odd One

hemac
25th Sep 2005, 16:07
In a free society price is the only mechanism that will change people's behaviour. Any chance it will happen? I doubt it.

I disagree with that statement entirely.
Everyone should be free to travel where necessary without unrealistic financial penalties.
As we obviously have a problem not only with pollution but also with congestion in this country, in my opinion fuel should be rationed.
Those people who insist on owning huge gas guzzlers will only be able to travel a fraction of the distance that smaller more economical car owners will be able to go.

H.

Navajo8686
25th Sep 2005, 16:28
I'm one of those who does not believe that there are any easy answers to any of societies problemswhether they be pollution, health or wealth.

For instance pollution can be reduced substantially by just not producing petrol and diesel. If everyone lived five minutes walk from their workplace then there'd be no need to travel (I'm assuming that enough factories and offices can be knocked down or converted into housing) and holidays are really an unnecesary luxury which we don't have to take. Whether we go by air, road or sea unneccesary pollution is caused.

Of course the banning of cigarettes would substantially reduce health resource wastage. We should also ban salt and sugar from our food due to the effects that they have on our food.

Of course we should shut down all the power stations because (whether nuclear, coal or gas) they use valuable resources. We could sit in the dark and the cold. The reduction in numbers of humans (who would die of cold) would then be beneficial as the amount of food they would have to forage for would be substantially reduced (thus further reducing need as starvation kicks in).

Extreme and tongue in cheek - maybe. The scenario in a few/many years time - definitely! When will the doomsday scenarios kick in? In seriousness it's diffciult to get a sensible view of the problems and what should be done to counteract them.

The one thing I do believe is that we are to far gone in our world to change it - unless that change can be carried out by others in a different country a long way away!

Unwell_Raptor
25th Sep 2005, 16:28
Hemac,

We agree that scarce commodities should be rationed. I suggest that nothing other than price can do that.

Paterbrat
26th Sep 2005, 14:51
My goodness U_R that sounds horribly descriminatory against the poor??? How remarkably un PC of you.

Whirlygig
26th Sep 2005, 15:25
Until you can eliminate the need for road travel, congestion will always be a problem.

How do we eliminate road travel? Who knows - there are too many factors.

First of all, most couples have to work these days in order to be able to afford a house. Therefore, compared with only 30 years ago, there will be more people going to work.

Secondly, as there is no such thing as a job for life now, people will end up changing jobs more often. And perhaps the spouse cannot change job or it is too costly to move house to be nearer the new place of employment, one member of that family could end up driving further.

Thirdly, as a nation we are working longer hours and have higher demands placed upon us as employees (unless you're a Civil Servant and I know of whence I speak!). The flexibility of having a car becomes more important as our employer expects us to work late.

While there is a perceived threat to personal safety, more and more people will drive when 30 years ago they would have walked. Public transport becomes less attractive to women for this very reason as well.

The modern family likes to have good food and wants to have strawberries in December. Consequently, the movement of food around this country is staggering. How do you go about persuading families that they can only have seasonal food now grown locally when they have previously been used to all forms of exotic foodstuffs.

Until these and other issues can be addressed, there will be no alleviation to the traffic problem in the South of England. As someone who comes from Newbury, I know about congestion!

However, the congestion relief that was given to us by the Bypass has now gone. I would reckon the traffic in Newbury now is as bad as it was seven years ago. A Bypass built at a cost of millions, beautiful countrside destroyed and Sites of Scientific Interest ploughed over. Civil War battlefields are now under tarmac. All for seven years relief from congestion.

I do not know the answers but I would suggest that there would need to be many more mechanisms in place than simply price control in order to reduce motor vehicle usage.

I did once live a five minute walk from my workplace (which was a coincidence). However, after being made redundant (and there is a lot of about), I ended up working 35 miles away after that.

Somebody mentioned a tax on air travel? Thought there already was!! Around a tenner a flight?

Cheers

Whirls

Grainger
26th Sep 2005, 15:28
Doesn't work U_R.

People travel because they have to, not for fun you know (certainly not in the South East).

Raising fuel prices just means people will have to pay more. And not only motorists - since most of your food and other goods have to be transported to you, rises in transport cost will be passed on to you whether you own a car or not.

Doubling fuel prices will not halve the number of miles travelled. It just doesn't work that way.

All that will happen is that just as much fuel will be used, and everyone will have less money for anything else.

hemac
26th Sep 2005, 16:30
My goodness U_R that sounds horribly descriminatory against the poor??? How remarkably un PC of you.

What has concern for the plight of the poor got to do with political correctedness.

My concern for the poor and less well eduacted is purely selfish.
The better the education someone has the less likely they are to behave in an antisocial way and the more likely they are to want to improve their general living conditions and not destroy, graffiti and litter.
The smaller the gap between rich and poor the less likely the poor are going to feel marginalised and steal what they see others have and feel that they need.

Either way if people can't afford to get to work because fuel prices are prohibitive then the poorer they are going to get.

H.

Ozzy
26th Sep 2005, 16:31
This is just another stealth tax. It is pure revenue raising disguised as a move to cut pollution. Government is getting bigger and they want your money to pay for it.

If the government was serious they would introduce significant income tax breaks for motorists who drive more fuel efficient vehicles. But, no that wouldn't pay for the programs the government wants your cash for.

Ozzy

Unwell_Raptor
26th Sep 2005, 19:34
Not so, Grainger. A high proportion of travel is discretionary, and starts with such decisions as to where to live vis a vis one's job.

Everything else, from champagne to nice houses to rooms at the Ritz is rationed by price. What's so different about road travel costs?

Grainger
26th Sep 2005, 19:41
Champagne and nice houses and hotel rooms at the Ritz are luxuries U_R [well, to most of us they are...], whereas travel is, for most people, a necessity.

I say again, doubling fuels costs will not halve the number of miles travelled. Do you disagree with that ?

Whirlygig
26th Sep 2005, 20:25
A high proportion of travel is discretionary, and starts with such decisions as to where to live vis a vis one's job.

As someone who also comes from the highly house-price-inflated Thames Valley area, that comment is hardly fair. There are many jobs in that area but the house prices are such that no young couple could afford to live there.

The area is crying out for teachers, policeman and other public servants. How is a young copper married to a teacher supposed to be able to afford a house in that area. They can't. So they end up living further away like Swindon!

As I said before, jobs are not for life. Are you suggesting that everytime somebody gets a new job (and it is not uncommon for someone to be made redundant several times in a working life), they move house?

Even then, many work and industrial centres are so far from any housing that one would have to drive anyway ESPECIALLY with respect to the "perceived" personal safety element.

U_R, please can you try to appreciate that there are many more factors involved in trying to solve congestion and pollution issues than just pricing.

Cheers

Whirls

overfly
26th Sep 2005, 23:43
I happen to agree with U R; I also live in the Thames Valley. Two years of commuting into London convinced me to make a lifestyle choice - I took a local job and a drop in salary specifically so that I had more hours at my disposal. I believe I am richer as a result.
The bit about young couples not affording property is also simply untrue; not affording a 3 bed 'executive ghetto' with brand new carpets and furniture maybe, but that is their choice. My own son and his partner earn less than the 'policeman plus teacher' combo yet started with a flat and now have a perfectly respectable 2-bed house. Their social life and the cars they drive suggests they want for very little. Two young female colleagues have married in the last year or so, both spent the thick end of twenty grand on the whole wedding thing - you won't convince me they are hard done by. I could go on.....

Whirlygig
27th Sep 2005, 06:36
The cars they drive eh? Would these be the cars to get them to work? That is my point and U_R's point (except that we disagree). It is not practical, feasible etc to live close to where you work.

I bet both your son and his partner have to work to afford their 2-bed house and that they both drive to work.

OK, maybe they don't work in London, but their presence on the road adds to congestion all the same.

Cheers

Whirls

eal401
27th Sep 2005, 06:58
starts with such decisions as to where to live vis a vis one's job.
So, by choosing to live where I can afford to buy a house as opposed to throwing ludicrous amounts of money away in rent, I have no right to travel to visit my parents in Winchester? A journey that by train costs anything up to four times as much as by car?

Hmmmm, I wonder where the flaw is in that suggestion?

teeteringhead
27th Sep 2005, 08:38
the first mandatory levy on drivers using Britainís motorway network. ... what about £4.80 to cross the Severn on either the M4 or M48??? And there's not even a non-motorway alternative without an extensive diversion.....

Whirlygig
27th Sep 2005, 08:57
...and there's the toll-bridges near Pangbourne and Eynsham!! The latter costs 5p. :O

It's not a new concept; just the reason behind it. Tolls were previously levied in order to pay for the construction, this toll (along with the congestion charge in London) is being done to discourage traffic and not pay for road improvement.

Cheers

Whirls

patdavies
27th Sep 2005, 09:26
Until these and other issues can be addressed, there will be no alleviation to the traffic problem in the South of England. As someone who comes from Newbury, I know about congestion!

However, the congestion relief that was given to us by the Bypass has now gone. I would reckon the traffic in Newbury now is as bad as it was seven years ago. A Bypass built at a cost of millions, beautiful countrside destroyed and Sites of Scientific Interest ploughed over. Civil War battlefields are now under tarmac. All for seven years relief from congestion.

Sorry Whirls, I live in Newbury and the traffic now is nothing like the pre-bypass traffic.

Pre-bypass. it was not unusual to queue all the way along the Newtown straight and traffic would be solid on the Sandleford Link. Southbound traffic started queing well north of the current Vodafine roundabout.

There is a little congestion in either direction at the Sainsbury's roundabout, but suprisingly this flows very well when the traffic lights have failed. This congestion could easily be removed by building a two-lane flyover for light traffic going straight north-south or south-north.

Whirlygig
27th Sep 2005, 10:45
patdavies, I only moved three months ago so I'm not that out of date. I lived in Compton and came down the B4009 to the town centre - THAT queue was as bad, if not worse, than 10 years ago!! Trust me!!

All the Newbury Bypass did was shove the traffic problem north to the A34/M4 junction. They solved that by constructing an underpass. This will then shove the traffic problem to the next bottleneck which is probably Oxford/Bicester. Much of the original trafiic problem in Newbury occurred after the construction of Twyford Down cutting and demolition of the Hockley Lights near Winchester (which pushed the problem north to us!).

There ain't no easy solution to traffic congestion but, I would suggest that instead of starting with pricing, we start with employers' attitudes and ethics with respect to current work practices.

Whilst companies still insist on being based in London or the South-East, then there will always be congestion in that City. There seems to be a penchant for businesses all being in the same location; business parks, trading estates etc. Retail parks out of town etc. Plus, of course, larger housing estates. So you drive from your housing estate to your business park and, at lunchtime, you drive from your business park to the retail park to get your lunch etc. I have found that many of these places are quite difficult and dangerous to walk around as they no longer cater for pedestrians. Now, where does that remind me of? Oh yeah... the USA!!

Cheers

Whirls

eal401
27th Sep 2005, 12:08
Much of the original trafiic problem in Newbury occurred after the construction of Twyford Down cutting and demolition of the Hockley Lights near Winchester (which pushed the problem north to us!).
Forgive me, but how does removing a hold-up create problems elsewhere? The Twyford Down cutting and the M4/A34 bypass has removed blockages, why would these turn up elsewhere?

Genuine question, I'm not an expert on traffic flow modelling!!