Clean air

I’m all in favour of clean air. The Clean Air Acts which removed the smogs from London and our leading industrial cities were great acts of progress. They did not damage our economy, whilst improving the quality of life and saving our lungs.

Today more can be done. Particulate matter in the air can be unpleasant. It comes from domestic and commercial heating systems, from transport, from power generation and from some industrial processes. Progressively higher standards of pollution control can clean our air more.

There has been a tendency in the UK debate to concentrate on the impact of the car and lorry, and to minimise or ignore the role of other sources. It is true there has been quite strenuous efforts to clean the output from  factory chimneys. There has been a strong move away from open fires and coal and coke burning boilers. Their replacement with oil or gas systems has lowered the output of hazardous waste. There has been less concentration on the particulates coming from diesel buses and trains.

The government will be long on words and targets, but more  careful on proposing changes to the way individuals live. You cannot suddenly demand that everyone replaces their domestic boiler or scraps their coal or wood burning devices. Effecting change in the hearths and boiler cupboards of the nation’s homes requires patient progress and incentives to encourage voluntary change. Requiring people to burn less harmful  fuel in solid fuel devices would be possible. Banning bonfires is part of modern life.

The state should look to its own. There are still cities where bus fumes and particulate matter from the exhaust are an important part of the problem on the streets, especially near bus stops . There are stations where waiting trains keep their diesel engines running, with smoke and particulates circulating in high concentrations by the platforms. There are many public buildings with inefficient and dirty heating systems. Improvement and change in these areas would be the most positive way the government could lead this change.

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126 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Once again the elephant in the room is being ignored. And once again the solution to the problem(s) will never implemented because it does not fit in with the narrative.

    Suggesting people give up their wood burning stoves is bonkers considering the UK is importing from around the world wood pellets to burn in power stations to make electricity to heat homes. That is ludicrous this all is. Lemmings !

    Combined Heat and Power (CHP) or local domestic heating is far more efficient and environmentally friendly.

    But the EU has demanded the UK clean up its air. Troubles is, it is the EU’s policies that are creating the problems but our government is to meek to stand up to them. Either the EU lay off or, the UK Government should demand that we accept no more EU immigrants. This we can do but I do not have the relevant clause to hand.

  2. mick
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    What next to ban no BBQ no fire pits no bon fires , this is all bonkers the planet will survive it as for billions of years, plant more trees they are the lungs of this planet, or is there a hidden agenda to start taxing to have these things

    • Chris
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      It seems that Michael Gove is heavily influenced by the green blob. What irony when you think of his comments about teachers/education. He has apparently fallen victim to it himself. It simply looks to me that he is trying to make a name for himself, and trying to reassure wavering voters that he is still pursuing the policies of the liberal left. I suspect potential Cons voters are not at all impressed. The best advice for the Tory party is in the headline of this D Tel article today:

      https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/05/23/win-big-tories-need-have-conviction-not-chase-non-existent-centre/
      To win big, the Tories need to have conviction, not chase non-existent ‘centre ground’ by Sherelle Jacobs

      • Chris
        Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

        I meant to make clear that it was only the title of the article that caught my eye.
        Am now about to read the actual article.

        • Chris
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

          Title of said article in Telegraph today:
          To win big, the Tories need to have conviction, not chase non-existent ‘centre ground’ by Sherelle Jacobs

          Very good advice for the Cons, and Michael Gove in particular.

    • rose
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      It depends where you live: if you live in a city where there are thousands of students lighting throwaway petroleum fuelled barbeques on every patch of grass, you want something done about it. You don’t want to live with your windows shut in the summer and not able to sit in your garden. Quite apart from the mess and damage they leave behind.

      • Hope
        Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        JR, off topic but relevant to all matters EU, today Tory minister at select committee admitted that the divorce bill will be paid before a trade agreement is made! What happened to the nothing is agreed until everything is agreed? Is this another whopping lie? What in earth is May doing. At the last election she tried to fleece us all with her dementia tax but happily gives away hundreds of billions to the EU without even a trade deal! She created this situation by acapitualting to sequential talks instead of parallel talks, per treaty on withdraw. This has deliberately led to the Ireland issue and all other chorgrahed nonsense problems she created to change our minds.

        We also read today Hurd withdrew our right to war reparations from Germany in 1990 , yet we continued to pay the US until 2006 for our war debt! Is this fiscal competence by the Torie?

        Good grief is there anything left from the key note speeches, red lines, strap lines, manifesto? Anything! Is it now a question of far May will capitulate to embarrass our country for daring to vote leave?

        • Chris
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

          What happened to the nothing is agreed until everything is agreed? Just meaningless soundbites, Hope, designed apparently to appease the doubters. Tory Brexiter MPs have been well and truly duped, in my view. People will look back with incredulity at this period since the referendum wondering how on earth Theresa May was left to dither, appease, and apparently to deceive. There will be incomprehension about how and why she was allowed to do this and contempt for those who failed to act.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      As it happens I’m with Andy on bonfires in built up areas. They are an utter nuisance. The first lovely weather and you can’t sit in your garden or have your windows open because of acrid smoke.

      I don’t know what people are burning in their open fires these days but it smells like painted wood. Very unpleasant and most unlike the lovely coke fires you could smell in northern towns in winter.

      I went to a garden party a few weeks ago where they had a fire pit and it took my lungs a week to recover. The host’s house was full of smoke. A stupid idea.

      • Anonymous
        Posted May 23, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        Andy – as you know there is, unfortunately, no law against bonfires in built up areas. (Apropos your blaming Brexit voters previously)

        See. Brexit and Remain voters CAN be in agreement.

        Nearly all the litter I see is the sort of stuff millennials buy Monster drink cans and Harribo packets, the detritus of wholly shop bought picnics left on the beach and in the parks (old Brexit voters make their picnics from scratch) – never EVER a Werther’s Originals packet blowing in the wind. I suppose the young litter louts must be the Brexit voting ones according to you.

    • bigneil
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Get ready for the “personalized lung capacity tax” mick. Of course, as with everything else, we will have to pay all the migrants ones as well.

    • Blue and Gold
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      This is the sort of comment that makes absolutely no sense. Mankind has done more damage to the planet in the last 200 years or so, than can be justified.

      There is of, of course, natural changes occurring, but the way we have treated the planet/environment is causing them to be accelerated and more damaging.

      One of the many, many problems of leaving the EU is the environmental one, despite what Mr. Grove may say with his assurances. With Project Lies dominating Vote Leave, why should anyone trust any Brexiteer politician to do the best for the UK citizens and environment.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 24, 2018 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        Because being “kind to the environment” is popular with voters.

  3. Lifelogic.
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Indeed we should mainly use gas in cities not oil, coal or wood. We need cleaner vehicles particularly the ones (like buses, taxis and similar) that are on the road for many hours every day.

    Mogg on the daily politics yesterday said Theresa May was more of a Geof Boycott than a David Gower. Alas she is more of a Mr Bean who is batting facing the wicket and back to the bowler. With, it seems, an agenda to destroy once again any reputation the Tories had for economic competence, possessing a working compass and running an efficient government. Mogg even had kind words for Ruth Davidson another misguided lefty dope like May whose policies would be a disaster. I am sure Boycott would make a far better PM.

    Oh for a real economically competent Tory as PM and Chancellor so that we can avoid Corbyn / SNP and grasp the many wonderful Brexit opportunities with both hands.

    Mark Carney has claimed the Brexit vote has left households £900 worse off annually, describing the sum helpfully as “a lot of money”. Why is this appalling and proven failure still in his job? May and Hammond clearly want this irrational talking down of Brexit one assumes.

  4. alan jutson
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Agree no harm in setting new standards for new equipment or vehicles of all sorts, but it would be very silly to have a deadline for such matters before consulting with the manufacturers of such, or to enforce replacement before the expiry of the normal life cycle of such equipment.

    As I understand it, Log burners are now a problem, but not so much the actual log burner itself, but the content of moisture in the wood that it burns, which will depend on when it is cut, and where it is stored before use.
    Will wood burner owners be required to use a damp meter and record the moisture content before any wood is burned, if so I can think of many ways that will fail !

    It of course depends on who is going to set the standard for such clean air, will it be a World agreement, the EU, or ourselves.

    Just remember JR that the UK is one of the most densely populated countries in the world given its land mass. Thus the amount of so called pollution we will create, will be higher than a less dense population with a larger land mass.

  5. Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Another factor is parking space for cars – never mind the number of extra cars on the roads, just look at how many people have had to brick over their front gardens to have somewhere to park. This also affects water drainage of course, but as Mick suggests, we should have more oxygen generating trees and plants, and how many are ripped up to provide parking space… Does anybody recall in the 60’s when labour were intent on concreting over every last bit of grass?
    It is clearly government policy to increase the number of cars on the road, as it gives them the excuse not to provide adequate public transport – they encourage car manufacturers then soak the motorist … Great policy.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Interestingly more C02 in the atmosphere also helps plants grow better and then they produce lots more oxygen – as a direct result of taking up more carbon dioxide.

      Another benefit of higher C02 levels. But the alarmists & the BBC (like the remoaners) are only interested in the negatives. Everywhere will get worse according to them, it is all bogus science & hugely exaggerated drivel.

  6. Dry twit
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Environment Agency warns of serious water deficits for England. Yes it should have rained more in the last six months. With the warm weather in the last week, the frogs in my back garden are down to their last six metres of water and my ex-wife could resurface at any time.

    • Mark
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      They fail to point out that it is EU water policy which limits reservoir capacity and bans new aqueducts from wetter regions that is the problem.

  7. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Well, we have a biggish garden with trees and shrubs which need regular pruning.

    When we do the pruning ourselves we burn a lot of the wood just in the traditional open hearth in the sitting room, having decided years ago that it was far too expensive to instal a special woodburner for the sake of a moderate reduction in our winter gas bill.

    When we have to get professionals in for higher and/or thicker work they usually shred the prunings, which will decay and release much the same amount of carbon dioxide as through burning plus of course that released to run the shredder.

    But apparently this is all wrong, it may be how we have worked things out over the thirty odd years we have lived here and dealt with these practical problems as best we can but Michael Gove knows better.

    I have another solution, which I have seriously suggested to my wife as we get older and start to become infirm and this work becomes more of a burden, which is that we sell the house and garden to developers so they can build more homes for all those immigrants that Michaal Gove wants to allow and encourage to come and live here.

    Provided of course they and their family and friends can scrape together the £10,000 to buy UK citizenship under the scheme that Michael Gove proposed in 2004:

    https://reason.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/bastiat-2004.pdf

    “Immigration should be about money not blood”

    Not much, £10,000, for the various benefits of UK citizenship for the immigrant and all their descendants, my thought was that if we really were to decide to sell citizenship rather than grant it without charge then £1 million might be closer to the mark.

    I reckon a much better use of time and energy for Michael Gove would be stop Theresa May and her eurocentric advisers selling us out, as they are clearly planning to do.

    When she became Prime Minister I was prepared to trust her and give her a fair chance over withdrawal from the EU, despite having opposed her for the best part of two decades since she became our local MP, and literally in the 2001 general election; but I have to tell you, JR, that my trust and my patience are now exhausted.

  8. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Your party in government is becoming more and more inclined to reach for legislation (and taxes) to enact change. This is more a trait of the authoritarian left than the Conservative party.

    Does it reflect insidious creep from EU influence or is your party inclined towards removing personal freedom.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:50 am | Permalink

      Ruth Davidson and Michael Gove cautioned against hectoring the electorate yesterday.

      A bit more joy and a bit less nannying would be welcome.

      The same could be asked of Mr Carney too with his claims that we are £900 worse off the he previously forecast.

      • mancunius
        Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

        Personally, I was amused by the rather sobersides Mr Gove and the omni-shrill issue-driven RD telling us to have more fun.

    • Chris
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      Narrow Shoulders re your last sentence, it reflects a government emasculated by so many years of being hooked up to Brussels, dependent on Brussles to produce ever more legislation to solve every problem they can think of, including inventing new ones, instead of using common sense and enterprise.

      That is one of the most damaging aspects of EU membership: a complete lack of ability to think for oneself and to problem solve, instead relying on ever more centralised control of “the people” until they just become a mass of sheep, confused and weak, utterly dependent on government through benefits to house, feed and water them and to run their lives for them. A fate worse than death, methinks. This was not what I voted for in the referendum. I voted for freedom.

  9. agricola
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Technology can solve the diesel emission problems, and those of petrol driven engines as well. The all electric answer is not advanced enough as yet. Add to this the fact that we cannot generate enough of our own electricity for current needs, and trying to do it with windmills is way too expensive and unreliable. Being reliant on shipping in power from France is strategically naïve.

    My experience of London on a bad, no wind day is that the pollution lies about 1-2 meters deep where it is generated , on all the main highways into the city. A thought, we pipe in electricity ,gas, water and pipe out sewage. Why not place extractors at the side of highways like I have in my kitchen over the hob, and draw off all this contaminated air where it is created.

    Legislation is at best a sticking plaster and the resort of a parliament that largely comprises lawyers. One only has to recall diesel policy emanating from the mouths of the technically illiterate to understand the harm they can do when opening their mouths before engaging their brains. Set up a technically qualified committee outside Parliament, free of vested interests beyond solving these real life problems. They could then advise Parliament on what to do. Winston Churchill had the sense to do it at the outset of WW2 so why not now.

  10. MickN
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Tax it or ban it seems to be the way forward !!
    There was recently an outcry from the clean air fanatics in Camberley because they had recorded “dangerous” levels of particulates when they monitored along the Blackwater Valley Road. They didn’t think to mention that every evening for almost 2 years the M3 had been closed whilst work was done to turn it into a “smart” motorway and overnight traffic was diverted to the A30 via………….guess where?
    It seems Mr Gove is swallowing their figures. I used to like him and I think he was a good education secretary, but of late he does come out with some garbage on occasion.

  11. DUNCAN
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Since the public sector isn’t self-financing (and incredibly wasteful in how it spends other peoples money) I suspect any changes to the way they operate will be charged to the private sector who not only will have to absorb the costs of change imposed by the idiots in this government but also absorb the costs of the public sector spending machine

    I am sure these changes are inspired by the idiots in the EU

    Well done PM May. A leader who knows how to stick the knife in the back of the UK and its people

    Message to all Tory voters – Abstain at the next GE until our own MPs wake up and despatch this useless leader

    • graham1946
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Nope, I’m voting against. The sooner we have a clearout the better. They won’t get rid of her, so don’t deserve our trust.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      We surely cannot have another election with May in charge. She would lose even to Corbyn and his dire shadow cabinet of magic money tree, politics of envy conmen and conwomen.

      Just like Major “no change no chance” but the silly Tory MPs did not even kick Major out and thus lost power for 3+ terms!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      Indeed T May seems to rule for the 20% who work in the state sector (who are paid with pensions about 50% more, while producing very little of much value) and against the interest of 80% who largely have to pay for it all.

      She and Hammond really have to go. It seems they have now encouraged HMRC to take up the “Brexit means nothing” agenda.

      Or are they doing this totally without May’s approval?

  12. Stred
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    JR. At last a logical statement from a politician. The present state of air pollution on the UK has a very small effect on health. Worldwide it has a real effect because of the burning of fuel inside buildings without without flues

  13. Mark Hodgson
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    If burning wood is such a bad thing, why is the Government (i.e. the taxpayer) paying Drax £100sM every year in subsidies to burn lots of wood?

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Burning wood at high temperatures produces the least smoke. The problem is with open fires where the wood is burning cooler, or burning wet wood.
      Our wood stove produces very little smoke, particularly at this time of the year when it’s not being used at all.
      On the other hand, the traffic outside our house continues to spew out pollution every day of the year.

    • matthu
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      Probably something to do with some or other carbon wrangle i.e. as long as you import the wood pellets from the USA and pay for it to be transported half way across the world, and it’s not been outlawed by the Paris Agreement, then it’s okay …

  14. Ian wragg
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Billions of taxpayers money to encourage wood burners and subsidy for Dead to burn wood pellets.
    Any GCSE student would tell you that they produce particulate matter and more CO2.
    Our climate change zealots in government only make matters worse.

  15. Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    The problem here is the decline of local government.
    I live in North Cambs where London is far away. Yes, we have two traffic jams a day and when the weather is nice, the A47 to Hunstanton is clogged, but by and large, particularates and smog are historic memories.
    Local government is the place to restrict air pollution. London has its own problems: we do not need our cars banning out here, thank you very much.

  16. eeyore
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Firewood is carbon neutral and renewable – a Good Thing. Few urban households use it and in the countryside air pollution isn’t a problem. Overall, the number of homes where it’s the main fuel is statistically insignificant.

    As JR says, there are much worse sources of air pollution. So why does Mr Gove single out wet firewood and wood burning stoves as his headline targets?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Coal is after all only old wood! It is the particulates that are the problem not harmless or beneficial, clean CO2 tree food.

      The evidence is that Co2 on balance is not harmful and can actually be beneficial in greening the planet and increasing crop yield. The climate is no where near as sensitive to CO2 as the scam alarmists have claimed. No significant warming for 20 years still.

  17. TR
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Government should tackle corporate offenders such as ….cars. Should follow US example and recall dodgy diesels, impose massive multibillion pound fines and charge senior management with fraud and environmental offences. Probably illegal under EU law and they will go for easy targets such as middle class with log burners.

  18. Andy
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Bonfires need banning immediately.

    Nobody has a right to spew their toxic filth out over entire neighbourhoods – when there is a perfectly simple alternative.

    One of our neighbours has regular bonfires – and it is disgusting. His gross toxic filth hangs over our house, seeps in through the air vents and makes all of our stuff stink. It makes our children sick. He lights these things, without warning, all the time – on nice summer evenings when all our windows are open and even when it’s damp and hangs in the air for hours.

    Bonfires are the most extreme form of anti-social behaviour. They need banning immediately – with serious punishments for anyone who breaks the law.

    • eeyore
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Farmers are already obliged to get a bonfire licence which closely regulates what can and can’t be burned. As there is no other practicable way to get rid of waste from farm hedge maintenance, a bonfire ban would not work in rural areas.

      Urban bonfires are not illegal per se, but if the smoke causes a nuisance the Environmental Protection Act 1990 offers a remedy.

    • Adam
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Tolerance of the unpleasant may be harmless, but inhaling bonfire smoke presents health hazards of major consequence. Pursuing a preventive remedy via the local authority or other means would help safeguard your & your family’s health, among others’. Even gentle persuasion would be better than inaction.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      With you all the way on this, Andy – except for your blaming of Brexit voters for this anti social behaviour.

      • Anonymous
        Posted May 23, 2018 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

        What I would do in view of your problem is put together a politely worded petition and have as many neighbours as you can sign it. Then post it through the door in the dead of night if you are reluctant to confront this person.

        The chances are that they will be shamed by it and stop. Alas there is no law against what they are doing.

        Good luck.

        • Anonymous
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

          BTW the most extreme form of anti social behaviour is direct neighbours who throw loud and often violent house parties several times a week.

          This can drive you insane. Literally.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      Andy, yes, and of course, young people never light bonfires. As usual you are ranting on about pensioners. You are unreal.

    • mancunius
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

      You should speak with your neighbour in the reasonable, respectful and emollient way that we all know to be your trademark, Andy!

  19. Adam
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Much of the world’s pollution is caused by needless consumption. China, tending to have become the factory of the world, is probably absorbing much of the unclean air caused by our own nation, & many others, purchasing their manufacturing services.

    A sensible Govt reduces the main causes in their order of magnitude. Individuals should each play their part.

    Realisation assists. The dense pea souper pollution of the 20th century raised public attention visibly. Unclean air should not be disregarded solely because its lower levels are often invisible.

  20. Rien Huizer
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Motherhood and apple pie.

  21. Peter Wood
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Dr. Redwood,

    With apologies but I simply can’t let this pass:

    “.. we are getting on with it with confidence and brio and zap and dynamism.”

    Who IS Boris be talking about….?

  22. Edward2
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    There is a great danger that politicians will carry on banning or taxing into decline the things you list, giving themselves a lovely feeling of righteousness, whilst they put out of work hundreds of thousands of people working in these industries.

    All based on a dodgy piece of research which had the gullible media repeatedly posting a false headline of 40,000 deaths due to pollution.

    • matthu
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Not 40,000 deaths.

      40,000 premature deaths.

      But how much premature on average?

      • Edward2
        Posted May 24, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        Indeed
        A few days theoretically, all based on a computer model.

  23. Bob
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    As always, no mention of the population explosion, especially with the cultural move towards large families that is being imported and lauded by our politicians.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      27% of births last year to mothers NOT born in the UK…

    • Posted May 23, 2018 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      The politicians never mention the large families, Bob, and neither must we.

    • Posted May 23, 2018 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      Pollution crisis + traffic crisis + public transport crisis + NHS crisis + education crisis + several other crises = Population Crisis

      • Posted May 23, 2018 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        PS

        I forgot…. Environmental crisis

        • rose
          Posted May 25, 2018 at 1:21 am | Permalink

          EU crisis.

    • Adam
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Bob; the heaviest cause of most effects that people need to solve is the increasingly large number of people. Each is a user & generator.

    • Dennis
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Population is the key to solving all problems as housing, energy needs, congestion, pollution, environment, education, health, hospitals, etc., etc., etc. but most, as JR etc., can only think of techno and tax fixes – insane or what?

  24. JimS
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Is there no way to cull the politicians?

    I remember some years ago a HoL committee seeking to keep Heathrow “the world’s busiest airport” and lately Lord Adonis has been telling us that we should be travelling more so that we can get to better jobs.

    Then of course there is all that immigration, that we keep telling the politicians that we don’t want, that adds marginally to the gross GDP and greatly to congestion and pollution, (doubly so as we cut down the greenery to make way for them).

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      We need but a fraction of government to do this to us.

    • WalterP
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      Was just listening to an interview on radio with Lord Lawson where he continues to decry the UK position in the EU.. including how awful the customs Union and Single Market is…interview was conducted by phone from his estate home in south of france where he currently resides..one law for the plebs it seems another for the well connected

      • hefner
        Posted May 25, 2018 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

        Oh, come on! Gascony and Lord Lawson’s plot there were English from 1152 to 1453. It might the original ground of the poor man’s ancestors.

  25. Dave Ward
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    “You cannot suddenly demand that everyone replaces their domestic boiler or scraps their coal or wood burning devices”

    The average car driver might think otherwise! First they were told to buy diesel because it would reduce CO2 emissions (not that this was ever a problem). Now (surprise, surprise) it transpires that they are responsible for PM and NOx, which any competent engineer could have told you. So virtually overnight diesel has been “demonised” – sales have fallen through the floor, and anyone currently owning one will be worried about the future. This encompasses both resale value, and the likelihood of daily “emission charges” and restrictions being introduced by councils all over the country. It’s long past the time that our governments should PROPERLY investigate concerns before being arm-twisted by pressure groups into making short sighted decisions.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      No rebate for those who distrusted the government’s advice and chose petrol though – and were proved correct !

      All stick and no carrots.

  26. Bob Dixon
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Councils are able to pass Bye Laws regarding cars with their engines running while parked on
    the streets.

    See The Highway Code 123

    Are these Bye Laws ever enforced?

  27. Beecee
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    It would seem that Mr Gove is following the Blair mantra of a new initiative a week – in his case on the environment.

    And like Mr Blair’s, not thought out and therefore thoroughly stupid!

    I am sure we do not mean to elect incompetents just that many of them become so when given promotion to a Minister?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      At least he seems to have shut up about on VAT on private school fees and abandoned electric dog collar ban! He has gone a bit mad of late ever since he lumbered us with Theresa by knifing Boris!

    • WalterP
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      As Gove famously said that the people have had enough of experts

  28. BOF
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    This sounds like more punishment in the pipeline. We have a woodburner that keeps us warm all winter, heats our hot water and also provides another surface to cook on. Good back up for when greencrap energy fails us, as it is failing residents of South Australia. Also two diesel cars, for which we wait to see our punishment, having been told to buy them!

    Punishment seems very popular with our government. Mrs May gave us a punisment Manifesto and now she has most of the plans in place for a punishment Brexit. All great electioneering material.

    • BOF
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Said woodburner also saves us much heating oil through the winter months.

      • Adam
        Posted May 23, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        If your premises have any remaining scope, BOF, thermal insulation would reduce the amount of heat you need to generate, to maintain the same temperature: Less fuel use; less polluted air; lower expense recurring each year.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted May 23, 2018 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        BOF. Exactly right. We use our woodburner and don’t have our central heating on except for when we have visitors and then we just heat the bedrooms. We have an oil fired Aga in our kitchen which in Scotland is often necessary even during the summer months when the temperature can drop dramatically and you can have day after day of rain. It saves me using my tumble dryer, we don’t use an electric kettle, don’t have to do much ironing as I fold clothes and put on top of Aga and don’t need a toaster. Our electric bill is only £38 a month. This government must stop listening to the green brigade and get real.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      May can not be allow to go into another election. She (& Hammond) are an electoral and economic disaster area. Slightly better than Corbyn is the best one can say of them.

  29. Closing down sales
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Marks and Sparks are closing stores. Maybe they should try Germany? But no, they tried Germany twice. Failed twice. Now Germany consumer spending is going down the pan according to recent stats as per usual historically for German industry and retailing.
    Perhaps America. But no, they failed when they bought Brooks Brothers and had to sell at a loss.
    Marvellous how high profile British businesses prove to be useless when they get even a little bit of competition. Napoleon who allegedly said that England is a nation of shopkeepers was at a time when even more price rigging and virtually zero real competition was the order of the day in every single village and town. You couldn’t even get competition in fish and chip shop prices as the owners went round price fixing in every darned village…for miles around and only ever varied their prices by no more than a penny. Come to think of it there isn’t much variation in takeaway pizza prices is there?!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Still very high pay for their directors though!

    • Mitchel
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      “marvellous how high profile British businesses prove to be useless when they get even a little bit of competition”

      They were spoilt by all those imperial monopolies we had before that beastly free trade (that we profess to love so much) ruined it!

      (Perhaps the West ought to get the Chinese hooked on opium again to resolve those trade imbalances!)

  30. Iain Gill
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Well the rules which make it more economical to repeatedly refurbish (often in quite radical ways with little other than the bit of chassis with VIN number on it remaining of the original) coaches instead of buying new are part of the problem.

    You see a new coach has various things loaded into it by regulation such as disabled access and lifts, and low emission engines, which have collectively pushed the price up. Where as simply taking an old coach and doing a radical refurb costs a lot less now, as that refurbished coach will only need to meet the regulations in place when it was first built, so no disabled access, and old versions of emissions control.

    So the well meaning regulations have probably done more harm than good. For the few disabled passengers actually using coaches for long distance travel a cheaper solution is probably available.

    Same is probably true of trains, in that the regime for whats acceptable pollution are very mixed up.

    Then we have the misguided measures like those designed to discourage road use, like prolonged red traffic signals, keep vehicles sitting there running their engine not going anywhere wasting fuel and causing unnecessary pollution, same with speed humps causing disruption and pushing up pollution.

  31. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, I saw Jacob Rees-Mogg on the BBC’s Daily Politics show yesterday being taken to task by an academic over his recent claim that in WTO rules would allow the UK a ten year period of grace in which to sort out new trade deals. But they ended up agreeing that he was basically right in his interpretation of GATT Article XXIV:

    https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/region_e/region_art24_e.htm

    There are people who indulge in wishful thinking and in effect assume that one purpose of the WTO agreements is to impose unnecessary, arbitrary and irrational restrictions on international trade, restrictions which could have almost been designed to make life more difficult for the UK as it leaves the EU and afterwards. But when challenged to provide chapter and verse on those supposed WTO rules they cannot do so …

    • Adam
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      JRM performed brilliantly with his solid rationale.

    • John Barleycorn
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      The link says that the 10-year limit applies to interim trade agreements, so it will apply when the UK is able to make interim agreements with the EU or any other WTO member. I don’t think any have yet been agreed.

      There is also a requirement that countries need to take reasonable measures to enforce any agreement; I wasn’t aware of that.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 24, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        What has already been agreed is in the EU treaties and could be continued on an interim basis if both parties agreed to do that. If that was done of course we would take reasonable measures to uphold the agreement.

    • Helen Smith
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      He was great, the way he said I thought this might come up so I happen to have article 24 on me! The academic was just floundering, really, with Mogg as PM we would trounce Labour, for one thing he actually respects the working class.

  32. Andy
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Incidentally – I don’t think Boris’ Brexit jet will help with clean air.

    Buying one is a bad idea.

    Like everything else to do with Brexit it will probably crash.

    If he needs to travel by air we could get him a hot air balloon.

    Seeing that he is full of hot air himself it wouldn’t need a separate power source.

    • Horsy Gambler
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      Andy. Aeroplanes are for flying people around, not for creating clean air. Similarly, horses are for racing and pulling and not there to complain about because they litter the environment with stinky excrement which actually doesn’t do much for roses or anything for the environment. Go fall down in it and see.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      For once you made me laugh, Andy.

    • WalterP
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      Andy..better still let him travel on the Channel Bridge to France that he is proposing to build..that’s after he helps Trump with the Mexican wall🤣

  33. ian wragg
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    O/T I see the latest from Brussels is that the so called “back stop” position cannot be time limited as it must remain until a solution to the Irish border is found. That of course means never as they have no incentive to agree too anything.
    Also they are now saying that staying in the Customs Union alone will not solve the border problem only staying in the Single Market.
    This is so predictable it is a farce.
    No doubt May will say we will be temporarily be staying in both until a solution is found which will be never.
    Game, Set and Match to the Remainiacs.

  34. a-tracy
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    “There has been a strong move away from open fires and coal and coke burning boilers.”
    BUT there haven’t been strong moves away – people have been encouraged back to burn logs and multi fuels to get “cosy”.

    “There has been less concentration on the particulates coming from diesel buses and trains.” You could have fooled me the school buses in particular belch of black smoke on our home estate every morning whilst stationary and more so when they move off leaving a plume of black smoke. Using old double-decker buses in small rural towns is ridiculously wasteful and wouldn’t be done if the services weren’t subsidised. We were allocated new eco buses and they were moved from our town and all replaced with dog end old dirty stock as soon as they could be and the local public have no say in this pollution.

    Public buildings could use lights technology where the lights are turned off automatically in rooms that are not in use. Toilets scheduled for replacement should all be the most efficient water reduced available,

  35. graham1946
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    If they ban wood burners what will happen to the wood not burned? I get mine from a local forest which is mainly waste from the timber industry (branches and wood that has no value) and some coppiced for the purpose. There must be millions of tons of this stuff which will need to be disposed of and we still need to keep warm, probably by burning more fossil fuels or inefficient electricity. Will the next move be for the government to commandeer this stuff for Drax to save imports from America or will they convert back to coal or oil if wood is such a problem. Probably not, as rules are for the little people only. We live in the country – are we to be penalised because someone thought it a good idea to let people burn wood in London after decades of no open fires or stoves.

    You can be certain that in a few years, some government clown will decide that it is all wrong again and start another fad. Why can’t they do proper research before starting their stupid campaigns and get things right in the first place? Since the millenium we’ve had the diesel debacle and wood burning promoted and electric cars for which we don’t have sufficient power anyway.. What’s next?

    • graham1946
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      I see this one didn’t make it through moderation. Must be something to keep hidden in it?

  36. behindthefrogs
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    We should stop local government felling mature trees. The havoc being created in Wokingham must be a major contribution to its pollution problems and the small replacement treeswill not solve the problem

  37. Kermit
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    “You cannot suddenly demand that everyone replaces their domestic boiler”

    Local Authorities and their offspring ALMOs and Housing Associations do just that. They ask their tenants if they wish an upgrade. Quite a few refuse because they have decorated and recarpeted and redecorated because of Local Authority money bags spending tax-payer money “improving” their homes ruining their homes, and are sick to death of weekly and daily disruption in the neighbourhood with noise, litter and traffic in even cul-de-sacs.
    But the Authorities keep at them individually bullying them . The result is bedlum on most housing estates, continual van traffic, continual noise, disruption of shift workers, old people and babies alike. Absolute waste of money in the millions. All in the name of “progress”.
    On my Estate we are thinking of taking out a law suit to prevent our public landlord from creating this decades-long hell on earth. I have heard there are two areas “Down South” who have taken such action whereby the Local Authority has actually to ask permission from an outside agency to access estates on each and every repair and “improvement”. Stop giving money to local Authorities in lump sums. They will spend every single penny!!! irrespective. Muppet Heads, they are.

  38. Lifelogic
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Why does Ruth Davidson want to take students out of the net migration figures? Surely a similar number arrive to study and others leave when they finish the course – so what difference does it make. We only count the nets ones who stay on.

    I understand she studied English at university, but surely she can follow this basic arithmetic?

    Not that I am against quality immigration as needed on a sensible competitive & selective basis.

    • Mark
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      The student route became the back door into Britain when other routes were allegedly toughened up, with many sham students and sham colleges fronting their visa applications. Mr Grayling did some good work to close down sham colleges, but the statistics still seem to show a large excess of student immigrants over emigrants. Leave them out of the figures, and the route would immediately become open for further abuse, as with previous statistical omissions such as the airports used by cheap airlines to bring in large numbers.

      Of course, we would have to supply international statistics in accordance with international norms – which would include all student immigrants coming here for more than a year. Not sure how Davidson proposes to get around that.

    • A Man!
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      “quality immigration” I take that to mean permitting a qualified person from a friendly and equally powerful country to enter and work in the UK without leaving his or her own country proportionately very much poorer by his or her absence….as in depriving a country of much needed medical staff.
      Of course if the applicant non-skilled; yet, is a genuine person who is married to a British person here… then that is a different matter. But that has already been agreed internationally for some time except, seemingly, if they are American where such entry to the UK, married or not, with children or not, to be with a British citizen is ignored and the couple and children kept from uniting . That was the case under Amber Rudd. Maybe that has changed, since she perhaps has descended to from whence she came.

    • Helen Smith
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      It’s not just me that screams this at the telly every time someone says students should be taken out of immigration figures then lol.

  39. libertarian
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    “You cannot suddenly demand that everyone replaces their domestic boiler”

    Really? thats almost exactly what Prescott did with the introduction of condensing boilers which by the way are useless

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Indeed any small saving it gas is wasted as they are less more complex and less reliable and need more maintenance. They freeze up often when most needed too and need a drain pipe which can be a pain.

      It was another idiotic green crap law rammed down people’s throats. Rather like the the Grenville fire which was clearly caused by incompetent. expensive and damaging insulation cladding pushed by the greencrap religion. This was always an engineering nonsense and fire risk.

    • Beecee
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      And have to be replaced on a regular basis after a few years!

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Really? thats almost exactly what Prescott did with the introduction of condensing boilers which by the way are useless

      I had an old boiler replaced in 2009 with a condensing boiler. Gas bills were almost halved. Still going strong 9 years later. Perfectly happy with that.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      Libertarian. Yes, condensing boilers and wind turbines!

  40. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Also off topic but topical, three months ago I had a comment on this thread:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/03/01/shopping-for-an-eu-agreement/#comments

    which started:

    “It would help a great deal with the current impasse if the Irish authorities told us precisely what checks they would actually perform if they felt compelled to reintroduce checks on our good exports at the land border … ”

    Because then we could work out how to make it unnecessary for them to do that.

    Now the EU Commission has produced a slide which “highlights the checks and controls that need to be carried out on goods entering, transiting or leaving the customs territory of the European Union”:

    https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/customs_controls_0.pdf

    Note that the requirements are NOT met by a customs union alone, a crucial point which the government should have pointed out to the Labour party long ago.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Well, now this EU slide has been shown on the BBC Daily Politics programme even if the UK government would prefer to keep it under wraps.

  41. mancunius
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    “Banning bonfires is part of modern life.”
    As is the greatly increased charges councils now opportunistically make for removing large items (250% more expensive now in many councils) and garden waste. Harlow charges £96 per year, Kingston £78, and Harrow £75.
    This has not gone unnoticed by other cash-strapped councils: whatever their professed keenness on recycling, they themselves dispose of their existing charges every year, and bring in new, always exponentially higher ones.

    • mancunius
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      PS to clarify: Harlow £96 per year; Kingston £78; Harrow £75 – these are their charges solely for garden waste collection.

  42. ian
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    As far as I can see, the south-east trade routes to the EU are not as good as they should be and if in or out of the EU need a lot of improving to do away with hold-ups on the EU side with or without customs checks.

    In other words, it needs doing anyway.
    What I suggest is going back to the rail ferry at Dover and Ramsgate for goods only and lines are already electric and with the new signalling system you can double the capacity on the lines.
    The lorry load can be dropped off at Dartford M25 and the new bridge that’s going to be built across the Thames further out and also picked up and then to the rail ferries at Dover or Ramsgate, off the other side for customs checks or not and then you go by rail or lorry once in the EU.
    This the sort of thing we should be a negotiating with the EU so they have the same roll-off rail for goods, as the UK and any delays of more than 12 hours the EU pays on their side for the crossing and UK pay for delays in the UK and pay if you have a lorry waiting to pick up the load, that the sort negotiation you need.

    For M. Gove sitting there with 4 billion to spend on pollution, he can make a big dent in pollution in the south-east and the south of London by taking the lorry goods off the roads heading for the EU and improve transport links for goods to the EU.
    You can also bring Manston airport into use and transfer Heathrow airport air freight to there and have more slots for air passager planes at Heathrow, while in Manston you are connected to HS1 at Ashford international station right into the heart of London and beyond, you can also put a road to rail service in at Reading or Woking near the M25 to Dartford or carry on to Ramsgate, Dover or Ashford.
    Then you can start to think about electric lorries in the UK instead of diesel because of shorter distances to cover. It would win-win for the liberal establishment and everybody else, I would call it money well spent for people and businesses.

  43. The Prangwizard
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    There is a case to be made to the cleanup of exhaust from ships.

  44. Mike Wilson
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    What’s the thinking on HMRC’s reporting to some committee today that Max Fax (or whatever it is going to be called) is going to cost business £20 billion?

  45. mancunius
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    …And now ex-FCO diplomat Sir James Bevan KCMG (“I am proud to be a feminist” he announced in India), who is the current Head of the Environment Agency, insists we must all shower instead of taking a bath: “You can take a shower, rather than a bath, you can turn off the tap while you brush your teeth, you can make sure you have a full load in your washing machine before you use it…Many sources of water supplies are already overstretched and, with climate change and a growing population, much of England could see significant supply shortages by the 2050s – particularly in the South East.” (Telegraph report, 22nd May 2018)
    (And we all know exactly why that growing population is growing so quickly…)

    That demand by Sir James is little different from that made by Hugo Chavez in 2009: “They [Bolivians] should attempt to wash in less than three minutes – and breaking into song distracts them. Some people sing in the shower, in the shower for half an hour. No! Three minutes is more than enough. I’ve counted, three minutes, and I don’t stink,” he said during a televised Cabinet meeting. He went on to label baths and jacuzzis “anti-communist”. (Telegraph report, 22 Oct. 2009)

    Perhaps Sir James also believes that exceeding what he terms the “personal water target” is “anti-communist”. Nothing would surprise us.

  46. Dennis Zoff
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    John as a side note.

    Reported in the Independent today:

    “Britain will be legally bound to pay its £39bn Brexit divorce bill before the details of a future EU trade deal are agreed, a minister has admitted. MPs will be asked to authorise the payment when they vote on the withdrawal deal in the autumn, Suella Braverman said – but there will be no trade treaty until after the UK leaves the EU next year”

    Is there any real substance to this article?

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-divorce-bill-uk-pay-eu-trade-deal-talks-david-davis-suella-braverman-a8364841.html

  47. Ron Olden
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    I can remember in the 1970s when all ‘the eco friendly’ Good Life’ types where I lived were installing coal burning fires and wood burning stoves.

    I was sneered at as being ‘untrendy’ for using my electric central heating.

    Then I can remember the ‘eco friendly’ Left in the 1980 demanding that we keep all the coal mines open and burn coal for the next 200 years until every possible ounce
    had been extracted and converted into carbon dioxide and various airborne toxins,

    Then I can remember eco warriers telling us that diesel cars were more fuel efficient than petrol ones, so we must all have them.

    Then I can remember them telling us to put windmills on our houses to save the planet. It now transpires that owing to manufacture. installation, maintenance, and low output almost 100% of these grossly inefficient micro windmills generate more carbon per kilowatt hour of electricity than almost any form of energy.

    So ‘Greens’ tell us not to put them up. any more.

    I also remember the ‘Greens’ (including President Carter) telling us we’d run of of oil by the year 2000, and would by now be suffering a ‘Mad Max’ type existence.

    But now in 2018 , known, recoverable, oil reserves are higher than they’ve ever been, and companies are going bust because demand for it is weak.

    More recently I read a survey which suggested that Green Party voters clock up the biggest average number of air miles of any party’s regular supporters and therefore have the biggest average carbon footprint.

    Four years ago I went to an open academic lecture in which the lecturer (correctly) told the audience that McDonalds is the most environmentally efficient caterer in the UK, because it sources as locally as it can, recycles what it can, and has easily the most fuel and water efficient outlets.

    He also pointed out that they always pay more than Minimum Wage.

    Several ‘Greens’ in the audience shouted abuse and one of them started screaming.

    They prefer we buy our coffees at less environmentally efficient outlets which pay lower wages and don’t offer career opportunities.

    Forgive me for no longer bothering to listen a word these people say.

  48. Iain Gill
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Can you do an article on IR35 John? a lot of us would love to know your thoughts?

    Cheers

  49. ferdinand
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Without a doubt diesel exhausts are the principal problem. Whilst the latest emission systems are good the exhaust of every diesel engine from the day it comes out of the service department deteriorates until its next service.This si not true of the petrol engine. i feel sorry for diesel car owners who were completely fooled by the EU on CO2 grounds. The EU has a lot to answer for.

  50. Helen Smith
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Condolences on the loss of your Mum Mr Redwood

  51. ChrisK
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Rural dwellers use wood-burning stoves to balance with the use of oil central heating….many of us do not have gas supplies. As the price of oil rises, people out here in the sticks will use their wood-burners, actually switching off central heating in those rooms where it is not required constantly—-we do it even in winter. Mr Gove can go fly a kite with his attack on stoves. In stark contrast, look at the enormous number of commercial diesel-using vehicles on the road….they flourish while the poor householder freezes or digs deep in the pocket for for oil supplies.

  52. John E
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    As a life long asthmatic I take the clean air issue very personally as I’m at more risk than most. I notice the deterioration in air quality even in leafy Wokingham very easily.
    Last week I was in Hungary and it was a joy to breathe in the clean air. Even the centre of Budapest has better air quality than Wokingham.

    In my view it’s all about diesel. Yes there are many other factors but the modern smog has come about from diesel fumes. That is the factor that has changed.
    Why have none of the car manufacturers been prosecuted here for their false claims? Are we scared to upset the Germans? Why is there a VW executive in jail in the US but no action being taken here? How many people would have to die and what cost to the NHS would be needed for them to be held accountable?
    Or are all the politicians and civil servants too embarrassed by their part in spreading this evil?

  53. Stephen Priest
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    As someone who often drive through Germany, it’s amazing how often those wind turbines fail to run.

  54. Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Looks like we are going to hand over (a minimum of) 39 billion pounds free, gratis and for nothing to the EU. Is this treason? It ought to be.

    • graham1946
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      I heard Gerard Batten on telly last night saying it could be bribery and may fall foul of the bribery act 2010. Apparently no-one is allowed to offer money to get some advantage in this way so maybe if we get nothing out of it, this is May’s way round the law. Some months ago, JR on here assured us that the government was not empowered to offer money like this. It will be interesting to see what happens when the ‘deal’ or more accurately the EU ultimatum comes to the House of Commons. All part of staying in as we have been fearing since the referendum. The Tories are the party of the EU, having taken us in, inventing the single market and selling us out with Maastrict. They cannot be trusted on this issue and the ‘negotiations’ should have been across all parties and conducted by Brexiteers.

    • Christine Keelhaul
      Posted May 25, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Ms Soubry says calling such things treason is “disgusting”. She would say that wouldn’t she.

  55. Cis
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    How do current air pollution levels – in city centres, at road/rail sides and elsewhere – compare with those before the Clean Air Act? I’d guess that the biggest strides have already been taken, and that the CBA of the next increment is only positive with high conjectural values ascribed to the usual virtue-signalling guff about theoretically adding three days to fifty lives.

  56. Peter D Gardner
    Posted May 25, 2018 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    CAGW is a religion, Dr Redwood. Expecting a government that believes in it to act rationally and practically is asking too much. Especially on clean air which the CAGW industry loves to conflate with changing climate.

  57. John Barleycorn
    Posted May 28, 2018 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Good point about diesel trains. Would you consider writing to Network Rail and the DfT requesting electrification of the diesel-operated railway lines in your constituency (Reading-Guildford and Reading-Basingstoke)? This would provide cleaner, faster and more reliable services.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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