Friday, August 26, 2016

Planning to reduce carbon emissions correction

On the assumption that readers of Dantheplan would also have read Planning to reduce carbon emissions  or at 
  it may have come to your notice that there was nothing about opposing road building.  This was an unfortunate omission as under Action for Roads the current Government demonstrates its belief that road building is still a road to prosperity.  The Guide has been amended (new edition when more feedback received on original) to state that when the demand management measures have been put in palce it should become self evident (and even show up on the financial analyses that there would be no business case for building new roads, bridges or tunnels.

The preferred demand management measure was the reduction in the national speed limits to 50mph and 20mph that can be done tomorrow at little or no public expense and would be completely as well has having important knock on and cumulative effects (that is what happens with systemic change).  However, speed limits are also on the edge of planning controls whereas new road building is very much open to public engagement.

On the question of demand management the new Guide will have to deal with road pricing and congestion charging. These measures might have a place when the impact of lower speed limits has been assessed. However, they are not cheap and have a number of rebound effects and potential problems with privacy and how they fit into the system.  They should not be discarded as, like controls at the workplace and town centres, both could be used to discriminate in favour of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles; only ULEVs could enter urban areas without restriction and on roads between towns any charging would be heavily weighted to advantage ULEVs. Although it will be likely some  owners of the larger and faster vehicles might be prepared to pay (seeing it as a fee rather than a tax) costs could be increased to raise revenue until the penny drops.  These would also be the vehicles most likely to disappear if the national speed limits were at 50mph and 20mph.

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