The Chancellor’s plan to force drivers and buyers of diesel cars to pay more to own, run and even park their cars – allegedly to reduce toxic pollution in city – must surely rank as one of the worst-targeted pieces of (proposed) legislation in many a long day.
The knee-jerk nature of Philip Hammond’s move, which will apply to diesel cars that don't meet the new RDE step 2 standards, is especially depressing. This man, whose judgement is supposed to be turned to our greater good, has caved into grievously ill-directed pressures. What he is proposing will have no effect on the problem; it will simply lower his level of earache. He will be seen – he – to have acted to reduce NOx, which “the experts” say “kills 7000 people a year”.
Such statistics are deeply suspect, as any sensible person instinctively knows, and spouting them brings no benefit whatever. Yet there is a NOx problem: why not attack it in ways that will work?
First, ditch or upgrade the belching old buses and old taxis that contribute so much to the problem. Remember those days a year or two ago when strikes removed buses from Oxford Street and the place suddenly met EU pollution standards? What should we have learned from that?