I am in 2 minds with regards to the current fuel protests that are underway today.
Working in the transport industry I am supportive of the hauliers efforts too pressure the government into cutting the fuel duty currently in force and to postpone the planned rise in October. However the environmentalist in me wants to see more freight transport diverted onto the railways. Ok you wouldn’t necessarily remove all those lorries from the road but you would reduce the distance travelled and lower CO2 levels in the process.
The big problem is that the government cannot see this. They don’t want to make the investment in the railway infrastructure that would be needed to achieve this; they just want to squeeze as much capacity out of the current network that they can. This means that they want more passenger services and fewer freight movements. With the proposed London Crossrail project they have excluded freight almost completely from the equation.
The rail network in the UK is not really privatised. The government pull all the strings and won’t allow the private sector to make any decisions with their approval. Maybe if the system was privatised we’d actually see an expansion in the number of lines and trains but I won’t hold my breath.
The excess money made from road taxation, in its various forms, is not invested in the public sector transport services, or spent on the road network. We’re having “green” taxes forced upon us but that money is not being invested in green transport alternatives.
If we had an integrated public transport network then I for one would happily relinquish my car for commuting. Yet the option is not available, unless I want to add an hour each way onto my day. I can’t even get a bus to/from my local station.
The government also intends increasing taxes onto high polluting cars could see taxes rise by an additional £200 per year. Originally the government were introducing this tax on new cars but have now said that it will apply to all cars. As the less well off in society can’t afford new cars where are all the replacement less polluting vehicles going to come from?
History Today :
All WW2 today…
1940 : Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of the encircled British & French troops begins. This is better known to us simply as Dunkirk. For some reason, not really explained, Hotler lets his panzers rest, instead of wiping out the encircled troops – luckily for us.
1941 : The Bismark is sunk. Only 110 members of the crew survived. Much better than the 4 that survived the sinking of HMS Hood a few days earlier.
1942 : Reinhard Heydrich is fatally wounded by the Czech resistance. Some may think that the subsequent reprisals were not worth the price.