I don’t think I’m welcome in London any more. Not in a car, anyway.
Here's why. Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufactureres and Traders (SMMT), recently said: "The London Ultra-Low Emissions Zone will play a key role in driving the market for ultra-low-emission vehicles in Europe's leading mega-city, and set a precedent not only in the UK but around the world.
"SMMT supports this vision and wants to see London meet its air quality and climate change targets, while driving innovation and supporting jobs. We are pleased to see the Mayor has recognised that the latest diesel technology has a place in an Ultra Low-Emissions Zone. It is only by encouraging motorists to invest in the latest, lowest-emission technology, regardless of vehicle or fuel type, that the Mayor's vision be fully realised."
Well, there you have it. Official confirmation that I won’t be driving into London, possibly ever again. That’s a shame, because I was born and raised in London. More to the point, after using the tube for a few years, 1980s London was the place I drove into every day.
I came over the Bow Flyover before 7.15am so I could get to Park Lane before the traffic went mad and have time for a decent breakfast. Soon after, I commuted to Berkshire and London was used as a short cut. Yes, really. There were fewer lights, less traffic calming and probably less traffic in those days.
Anyway, after a few years off driving in London as a protest against the congestion charge (that didn’t work), I drove into the city on Boxing Day. What followed was a hugely confusing process, as I tried to figure out whether or not I had to pay by phone to park.
I really do love the idea that the air will become a lot less polluting and all that, but I don’t need another rule or regulation, no matter how well meaning. Obviously London has become far too complicated for an old fella like me.
So sod you, London. I won’t be driving back. Ever.