The Taxpayers Alliance today have published another good piece of work pointing out just how much extra tax the government collects in the name of greenery, over and above the calculations of the cost of CO2 and pollution.
Others have worked out just how much more than the cost of road provision motorists have to pay. Whilst bus and train operators are allowed tax concessions on track use and fuel purchased, motorists and lorry owners have to pay tax after tax to use the public highway and burn fuel.
The public worked this out for themselves a long time ago. All the polls show that a majority of people have thought for a long time that the green argument is used by many politicians as another excuse to raise more money in tax so they have more of other peopleâ€™s money to play with. Nor is this the only misleading spin and ill thought through policy we experience daily from this government.
Let us look at some of the other green contradictions we get from this administration.
They tell us that travel by car or plane is bad for the environment because these vehicles emit carbon dioxide. They tell us trains and buses are good for the environment, perhaps because these vehicles also emit carbon dioxide! They never truthfully tell us that all vehicles with diesel, mains electric or petrol engines emit carbon dioxide when the power is burned or generated. You need to do a proper audit of each journey someone undertakes to find out which is the greener way of travelling. Sometimes it is greener by car than by train or bus, depending on where you are going and how many other people are going there too. You need to consider the energy burned to get you to and from the train station as well as the per person energy used by the train. If you want to go from the village of Little Known to the village of Lesser Used in the Marsh at 11 pm it would not be economic or green to lay on a bus just for you.
We are told that travel by car could be made greener and safer if we limit the speed of cars on good roads. So we have to drive cars that would be quite capable of travelling at 80 or 90 miles an hour on a motorway at a maximum of 70. Meanwhile we are told that trains are better if they travel at 125 miles an hour, whilst the government subsidies the industry to spend a fortune on trying to achieve speeds of 150-175 miles an hour, in the knowledge that anything that gets in the way of trains travelling at that speed does not have a chance of survival. Trains cannot be steered round an obstacle on the track, whereas a high speed car has a chance of steering round an unforeseen obstacle on a motorway. The government strengthens its arguments for slower running cars by saying they then burn less fuel per mile travelled. Why doesnâ€™t the same rule apply to a train?
Ministers and officials in air conditioned and poorly insulated offices tell the rest of us we need to improve the insulation of our homes, and lecture us to turn out unused lights and turn off appliances at rest. How often do you see a Minister or senior official turn out a light when leaving a room where the taxpayer is paying the electricity bill? Who turns their computers and screens off when they go for a break at work in the public sector? I find people at home are much more motivated than the public sector to use energy wisely, because we are paying our own bills. Thatâ€™s why I have been drawing attention through Parliamentary Questions to the need for better performance from the government itself at saving us money by raising its game on energy efficiency.