This campaign for a fair deal for the motorist saw action in London in 2009/10 as part of the wider campaigning front.

This is an archive page as the consultation closed on 12 Jan 2010.


·       A separate page has tips on how to respond to the Mayor’s Transport Strategy (document link).

This page concentrates on arguments against the worst proposals and raises some important issues.

·        (P178)  Where possible, car access should be restricted in residential neighbourhoods to reduce speeds and create pleasant and safe spaces for cyclists.

Nobody would wish ill on cyclists (and this campaign strongly promotes considerate behaviour by all road users towards each other). However this seems to be a gratuitous attempt to penalise car use for the sake of it. It uses flowery language to put a gloss on its mean intentions.

What would the reaction have been if the document had divisively suggested that cycle access be restricted to create more pleasant conditions for pedestrians? Or that cyclists should be made to ride on the pavement to reduce road accidents?

Car users have paid taxes to use road space several times over and should not be treated with abuse – by those who claim to be ‘public servants’. Where residential streets are busy, speeds will typically be lower; and where the streets are relatively clear, it follows that there will be more space for all road users. Live and let live…

·        (p193)  Over the course of this strategy, it is hoped that such technology [ISA, ‘Intelligent Speed Adaptation’] will become more widespread through TFL encouraging companies to fit the technology. The fitting of ISA to company cars and vans, following suitable trials, and on the basis than it can be shown value for money…. [20mph zones] particularly in residential areas with positive road safety effects which are enhanced when accompanied by enforcement.

‘Intelligent Speed Adaptation’ (ISA) is potentially dangerous in some situations, as it removes control from drivers.

20mph zones are another attempt to punish drivers for the lack of care and attention of other road users. Drivers are already legally obliged to adjust speed to the conditions and should take especial care outside schools in school hours (e.g.) but blanket limits are not the answer.

There are better means of preventing accidents – like police patrols, barriers and particularly the education of all road users. We don’t want to see schoolchildren or other pedestrians hit at any speed!

·        (p231)  The Mayor, through TFL, and working with the London boroughs, DFT, Highways Agency, and other stakeholders, will keep under review the option of road user charging and/or regulatory demand management measures to influence a shift to more CO2 efficient private and commercial road vehicles, and to lower carbon travel options such as walking, cycling and public transport..

There is increasing evidence that the public sees ‘carbon emissions’ dogma as an excuse to tax or control the population. The ‘scientific’ case is unproven and even based on discredited computer models.

If it was so crucial to reduce emissions, Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson would not be laying on large-scale fireworks displays such as for New Year’s Eve or the Thames Festival.

In current economic conditions, drivers need little incentive to switch to cheaper or more fuel-effective forms of transport.

·        (p34) Climate change adaptation measures will ensure London’s transport system becomes more resilient to extreme weather events and rising sea levels... (p103) Some degree of climate change is now inevitable. The transport system will need to adapt to a changed climate of warmer and wetter winters.

It is amazing, that in a strategic document that sets the scene for the next 20 years; is 354 pages long, and 23 megabytes in size, weather is only mentioned in the context of 'climate change'.

There is no mention of any of the following words:

snow  grit  'icy road'  frozen  freez(e/ing)

There is of course plenty on the things that the PC brigade are interested in, like policies to adapt to (unproven) ‘global warming’, new types of road user charges, and road user charging as a response to ‘global warming’.  

While the high priests of PC are waffling on about 'warmer winters’ and ’rising sea levels', many ordinary Londoners and commuters would be only too happy to see some specific action to keep their trains running, or keep their road or pavement passable.

The Mayor’s office should cover themselves in case they are as wrong on weather predictions as the Met Office – in fact, they are legally bound to take into account evidence of risk. (See a recent PR on the background behind our colder winters).

·        (p247)  Parking and the extended use of charging is a possible tool which may be used to better manage demand…. The Mayor, through TFL, and working with the London boroughs, car park operators and other stakeholders, will encourage implementation of pricing differentials based on vehicle emissions, including banded residents’ parking permits and other on and off-street parking charges including incentives for electric vehicles.

·        (p152) Proposal 128 As set out in sub-chapter 5.24, some form of demand management in areas beyond the central London Congestion Charging zone may be required in the longer-term if congestion remains a problem or if other objectives (for example' environmental aims) cannot otherwise be met. (NB a diagram, p252, mentions ‘London-wide road user charging’!)

See above. Parked vehicles do not typically generate ‘carbon emissions’ as they are stationary!

Road pricing is wanted by politicians rather than the people, as the 2007 national petition showed. There was a large response against keeping the Congestion Charge’s Western Extension Zone in the 2008 consultation.

Electric vehicle technology is unproven on a large scale and there are doubts as to whether the grid can support this, unless charging is done at night. The UK is set to have power cuts after 2013 as generating capacity is run down at end-of-life and to meet EU requirements.

Electric vehicles tend to be very expensive and there are questions over their range and the supply of lithium for batteries.

·        (p150)  The Mayor intends to remove the Western Extension. The removal of the zone should be considered in the context of the Mayor’s broader transport strategy. [A list follows].

·        The 21 page ‘leaflet’ from Transport for London, ‘Help shape London’s future’, ends with a form. Readers are invited to tick a box that they agree with the Mayor’s approach ‘to mitigate as far as possible the impact of its removal‘

There was a large response against keeping the Congestion Charge’s Western Extension Zone (WEZ) in 2008, in what the strategy document calls an ‘informal consultation’.

However many people who called for the WEZ to go thought that their views had been heeded. They are bitterly disappointed when they learn that this is really subject to the 2009/10 Strategy consultation, something that has been remarkably under-publicised. They find it incredible that they will have to give their views again if they are to count, and there will be other technical formalities to consult over (p251).

Some of the technical measures proposed, like adjusting traffic lights, seem sensible. However an approval might tacitly be taken as approval for other road user charges to make up revenue forfeited by removal – revenue that should never have been taken, given the lack of public consent to setting up the WEZ.

Approval for a whole set of measures might tacitly be taken as approval for whatever foot-dragging takes place to keep revenue coming in. This campaign argued that the unpopular and ineffective WEZ should be removed without any delay.

·        (p24) item E36 Reducing CO2 emissions – The Mayor has a target of reducing London’s CO2 emissions by 60 per cent by 2025, compared to 1990 levels. Given the growth in population and employment that is expected, meeting this target will be a huge challenge and far in excess of national targets. Road vehicles currently account for around 80 per cent of transport-related CO2 emissions in London. Meeting the Mayor’s target will require strong commitment from TfL, the boroughs, Government, the EU and others to catalyse the introduction and use of low carbon road vehicles, including the provision of charging points for electric vehicles and a package of incentives to ensure price competitiveness of low carbon vehicles and, if required, to introduce further demand management measures.

·        (p34) para 41…Road user charging may be considered if required to meet the CO2 emission reduction target (subject to technology enabling a fair scheme to be developed).

See above. This is gesture politics in response to the ludicrous Climate Change Act, 2008, which demands masochistic carbon emission reductions. These can only be achieved by radical enforced lifestyle changes.

‘Green’ politicians hypocritically fly to their pet conferences abroad, while preaching restraint for everybody else! Other measures, such as regionalising accident and emergency services actually require people to travel further.

It all sounds like another holy-holy excuse to introduce or extend road pricing (aka ‘congestion charging’ or ‘road user charging’). Anything based on rigged or faulty computer models cannot be ‘fair’.

·        (p179) Proposal 53 calls for Cycle Superhighways – initially 2, eventually 12.

·        Proposals 53/54 - Cyclists will also be encouraged to ride ‘the wrong way’ (i.e. against the flow) up one-way streets, subject to a change in the Highway Code.

The main document was short on detail on Cycle Superhighways, so we rang the Streets Team in Transport for London. The plan is that there will be some new capacity for cyclists, some use of existing bus and cycle lanes, and some ‘reallocation of road space’ away from drivers. 

The one-way streets proposal also stands to reduce available road space and slow down vehicles; intuitively it will increase accidents.

This is a kick in the teeth for drivers who will suffer from a reduction of road space that they’ve paid for. It is a funny way to ‘manage demand’ by taking away what is needed right now while artificially trying to stimulate more demand for cycling?

It is a sick joke to claim that the aim of the strategy is to improve ‘transport opportunities’ for everyone.

·        (p236) As a consequence, different areas of London require different policy interventions. Proposals for central London will inevitably focus on tackling congestion, increasing the capacity of the rail network, encouraging walking and cycling, and managing demand…

·        (p253) Proposal 129: …The Mayor will also consider imposing charges or tolls to support specific infrastructure improvements, such as river crossings.

Drivers have paid several times over for limited investment in roads and bridges – over £400 Bn since 1997. They have in all fairness paid for future investment in advance.

Drivers currently pay five times over each year both for ‘carbon emissions’ and transport investment. It is also fair to note that London pays more than its fair share in taxes ‘per head’ to the Exchequer, and should get more of its own money back.

Drivers do not deserve to be charged for the privilege of driving in congestion. Particularly where this is caused or aggravated by abusive measures such as the authorities removing road space (e.g. for under used bus lanes, or unnecessarily widening pavements).

How about ‘managing demand’ by giving drivers what they need to park and get around without hindrance?

·        The 21 page ‘leaflet’ from Transport for London, ‘Help shape London’s future’ is being widely distributed, including at roadshows. It leaves out incriminating detail. It lulls the reader into a false sense of security by simplifying the controversial proposals, using bland, palliative language and lots of pretty pictures.

·        At the end, readers are meekly invited to tick boxes. On page 21, readers are asked to agree with a loaded statement that ‘it may be necessary to consider a fair system of demand management’, such as road user charging’ (read: congestion charging or road pricing). It hints that ‘increasing demand for travel’ might be a significant problem for London.

A number of studies show that demand for travel in London has actually been tailing off – this was a trend even before the Congestion Charge was brought in.

There seems to be a wider Mayoral policy to plan for, if not welcome a large increase in London’s population, maybe of up to 1.3 million. This seems strange while trains and buses (like roads and the electricity grid) will already be at capacity at peak times. Other services such as health and housing provision are under stress from existing queues. A large increase in population can only ‘increase demand for travel’, but no measures are suggested to counter a projected population explosion.

There is nothing ‘fair’ about drivers being penalised even more than at present. This can only mean pushing up charges until drivers are priced off the road.

Those that stay on the road, like delivery vans, will have to pass on their costs to customers, so non-drivers may suffer too. The annual reports monitoring the Congestion Charge already note the social impact.

·       There are a few possible plusses in the ‘Strategy’:


·        (p136) Proposal 35 commits to working with Boroughs and other stakeholders to put network assets in a good state of repair (90%?) and to promote road user satisfaction.

·        (p205) Proposal 83 – consider trialling removal of traffic signals    

·        (p209) Proposal 85 – low noise road surfacing where possible

·        (p193) Proposal 70 calls for targeted physical engineering/design to improve road safety across London’s road network (albeit with politically-correct wording about priority for pedestrians and cyclists).

The main anti-motorist measures proposed will not promote road-user satisfaction. Priority for cyclists and pedestrians is at odds with Mayor Johnson’s policy to treat road users equally – it should be remembered that typically only drivers (including motorcyclists) pay ‘road tax’ to use the road, and the general fund used to support local authorities is heavily subsidised by our excessive taxes.






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