Using that tried and tested scam of changing the name of something that’s hugely unpopular, back in 1971 the government changed the name of the Windscale nuclear power plant to Sellafield after a series of major safety scandals had shaken public faith in the safety of the plant.
Now, the Reverend Rees, not being one to pass up the chance of repeating a DAFT IDEA, has come up with his own name changing scam. Knowing full well anything called ‘CONGESTION CHARGE’ would unleash a torrent of unpopularity and be an instant kiss of electoral death, the Reverend in March unveiled some new options to improve air quality in the city – ‘Improving Public Health – A Clean Air Plan for Bristol’.
And – can you believe it? – four out of the five options on the table involve introducing an, er, CONGESTION CHARGE of some kind! The Reverend even wheeled out his youthful and rather dim Cabinet member for Energy, Waste and Regulatory Services Kye “The” Dudd to explain why this congestion charge wasn’t a congestion charge. “It’s to address a public health matter rather than a war on motorists,” blustered the tyro politician before CLAIMING this not-a-war-on-motorists congestion charge would save 300 lives a year.
Not entirely true as these 300 hundred deaths a year are not REAL deaths but STATISTICAL deaths calculated at a desk by consultants using complex equations. Indeed, The Dudd’s own consultants admit the deaths from this public health crisis are “UNCERTAIN” due to “RISK COEFFICIENTS“.
Statistically uncertain deaths in Bristol could therefore be as low as 101 per year or as high as 612. WHO KNOWS? Not the Dudd, that’s for sure, as he bandies around that figure of 300 deaths to unleash a congestion charge on unsuspecting Bristolians.
If the Dudd was serious about reducing pollution rather than raising revenue then he would, in fact, be leaving motorists alone and getting his middle class mates to ditch their poncy WOODBURNERS. According to the British Medical Journal these must-have heating systems for the well-heeled urban twat are producing over TWICE as many harmful emissions as road traffic!
But where’s the money and votes in targeting woodburners?
BCC should be honest about what they are introducing but to be fair they are probably targeting cars because they are still the main source of pollution.
“According to the British Medical Journal these must-have heating systems for the well-heeled urban twat are producing over TWICE as many harmful emissions as road traffic!”
Thats according to a letter to the BMJ from an Australian pressure group, not the BMJ itself. The figure is about a particular type of pollution, pm2.5 particles.
The source the letter gives for this figure is a DEFRA report. If you look at the report itself you see that the only pm2.5 comparison is for traffic against ‘residential public commercial and agricultural’ sources generally, not for wood burning. Dig a bit deeper and the only other ‘hard’ figures on woodburners come from their own website which curiously enough spends a lot of time explaining how wonderful and clean modern diesels are.
All the London studies still show that most pollution is caused by diesel vehicles which is why they have focused on them. If it’s pm2.5 pollution they want to look at they would do as well to ban candles, barbecues and open fires since they are all much more polluting than modern stoves.
A far bigger source still is industrial pollution but to tackle that BCC would have to stop companies combusting all sorts of crap in Avonmouth.
A congestion charge would be welcome, this is no such thing sadly. The requirement to get NOx levels below certain limits is nationally set, the council has no choice in this matter and the process being followed for these zones is largely set out by defra & dft.
As for woodburners, excellent whataboutery there. Personally I’d be more than happy for the SCA to be enforced rather more rigorously than it currently is, but it’s probably worth noting that even amongst the woodburning stove fad, correctly installed and rated defra compliant stoves do not emit a great deal of pollutants, if you can see actual smoke poring out of someone’s chimney it’s far more likely they either have a non compliant stove or, quite probably a completely open fire. I think some publicity would help here, a disturbing number of people don’t even seem to realise that it’s not legal to have an open wood fire.
Regardless though, the majority of NOx emissions is cars, not stoves. This is rather obvious by the fact that the limit violations happen in the traffic peaks during the weekdays when stoves are not running and cars are.