Clean air

Many of us want clean air. In past ages people paid a health price for industrialisation, and for keeping their homes warm with coal fires. Soot, particulates, smoke and dangerous gases came from factory chimneys and from domestic heating and cooking.

In more recent times there has been a successful and concerted effort to clean our air. Coal fires were replaced with gas and electric heating. Factory chimneys are now strictly monitored and dangerous emissions are contained or rendered harmless.

The Green movement urges us to do better. They would like us to switch away from gas boilers at home, and wish to cut the impact of transport on air quality. If you live near a main road or major airport or railway line with diesel trains there can be dirt in the air.

The issue of small particles of material that can damage lungs is no longer a question of too many diesel cars as some suggest. The modern Euro 6 standard diesel car is only allowed to put out 0.0045gms per km travelled. This is such a low level that it is difficult to measure whether it is there or not, and is the same limit as for petrol cars. There are still some old diesel buses, lorries and cars that do emit higher levels of particulates.

The more important sources of particles from transport now comes from tyre wear and brake dust. These are often more severe in heavier vehicles. Buses and heavy trucks are likely to generate more than a car. Electric cars generate at least as much as petrol and diesel, and if they have heavy batteries for range and performance reasons they may create a bit more tyre wear from greater weight. There are also dust and particles in tube stations and mainline stations. The quantity of tyre and brake dust may well be more than 1000 times higher than the tiny amounts from a modern diesel or petrol exhaust.

It would be good for more work on tyre materials and brake friction to see how these particles can be reduced. Switching to electric cars does not fix this – it is a common problem for all transport. Even a bike has brake pad and tyre wear.

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  1. Javelin
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    One tyre and brake upgrade could be the equivalent of taking 100 cars or more off the road.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      And make some work for people sitting at home on our tax money, waiting for more people sitting at home on our tax money to have to use their cars for work again and get their tyres and brakes changed.

      The elephant in the room is being ignored. Remortgaging the country to sunbathe and visit local pubs and restaurants. If it is of so little import, why don’t we just carry on like this? Get the schools back now to catch up, civil service back and stop the furlough.

    • Adam
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      Friction causes brake dust. Perhaps part of braking could be diverted and stored, such as winding a spring to re-use the energy.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        That is what electric cars do. They use dynamo braking, and the electricity is returned to charge the battery.

        They are also lighter, so require less overall less braking.

        They produce markedly less dust than ICE vehicles, and not contaminated with combustion products either.

        • NickC
          Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

          So ill informed are your comments, Martin, that I wonder if you’re attempting satire. Battery electric cars are markedly heavier.

          The Renault/Nissan/Dacia group build cars on their universal “B” platform, including the Renault Clio, Nissan Leaf and Dacia Logan. The battery electric Leaf uses the “B0” variant, which has a modified – 117mm longer – wheelbase compared to the “B” petrol Clio. The Logan is in between.

          The curb weight of the Leaf is 1580kg compared with the Logan’s 1050kg. The battery electric car is heavier by about 50%. Any sane person would understand this – batteries are heavy. Hardly surprising given the energy density of petrol is about 50 times that of Li-ion traction batteries.

        • czerwonadupa
          Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

          Currently, the powertrain of a full-battery EV with a 35.8kWh battery pack and 100kW electric motor is nearly 125% heavier than a standard internal combustion engine vehicle powertrain.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps part of braking could be diverted and stored, such as winding a spring to re-use the energy.

        There’s no flies on you. Maybe we could have clockwork cars. Everyone in your road could give you a hand to wind it up in the morning – to get you to work. And, at lunchtime, all your colleagues could wind other up to get home. To prevent the energy being dissipated, maybe a ratchet could be brought to bear.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

          the office cyclists might be persuaded to pedal in their lunch-hour driving dynamos to add charge to a colleague’s electric car!

        • Adam
          Posted July 16, 2020 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

          “There are” would start better.

    • Hope
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Nothing from JRs blog about German emission scandal and Hammond ended up taxing us! Nothing about Ships, trains and lorries etc.

      Worse still nothing about his govt supporting the Paris agreement moving jobs abroad to China and importing coal from Russia to enable steel and cement factories to operate who the Fake Tories claim in contrast to be our enemies and abusers of human rights while actually adding to CO2 emissions and the like. It would be better if coal was mined and produced here. Nothing about the govts idiocy of Drax etc.

      The question ought to be: is there any main policy or electoral promise over ten years where the Fake Tories delivered for the benefit of the country? Economy, business, energy, immigration? 649,000 people made unemployed from March to June this year because of A idiotic Fake Tory policy, not an inanimate virus.

      • miami.mode
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        Agree about coal from Russia, Hope. News on TV of Russia cyber hacking into all sorts in the UK and yet we happily support them by buying their coal. Not much joined-up thinking there.

      • UK Qanon
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        Spot on + So much climate change BS. Ask yourself where does all the money go? Follow the MONEY.

      • Hope
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        JR, off topic, why has Mr Lewis lost the whip when so many traitors who acted against public mandate and Tory policy over EU still sitting on the benches! Including one traitor who tried selling out the nation, Mayhab! Any investigation of her dishonest KitKat policy? Any investigation that she repeatedly lied to her own MPs and nation 108 times, in a variety of ways, to leave the EU? May chose not to leave, her choice. Why is she sitting in a paid public office position, she is an affront to democracy and all the values we hold dear in our country. Johnson will regret his petty vindictive behaviour towards Mr Lewis especially for such a failure like Grayling who was Mays wing to become PM! Grayling should go and hide u Dee stone and count his lucky stars.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Why do we see so many vehicles belching black smoke?

      Are the police instructed to ignore them?

      Just one of those accounts for the pollution of thousands of properly-maintained vehicles.

      You can tell by the bodywork that they have often been like this for months.

      • miami.mode
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        Is that just in Wales, Martin, or do you travel around the UK a lot?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

          I would estimate that I’ve done about a million miles in the UK.

          • Fred H
            Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

            Assumption: You have driven for 55 years.
            1m / 55 = 18k per year. Or, 360 miles per week, every week for 55 years.
            Or 72 miles a day, 5 days per week, for 55 years.

            Busy boy aren’t you!
            Rep, van driver, Copper — -any more clues?

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        Are the police instructed to ignore them?

        This ‘police’ of which you speak – could you explain?

        • Fred H
          Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

          Well I have just had experience of this ‘force’ collecting money to pay their wages. North of Henley on a hillside there is a dual carriageway with centre reservation. At the top just over the brow there is a 40 sign- – leading to countryside. A ‘police’ van with hidden camera was setup early morning recently clearly designed to catch ‘speeders’ over the minimum distance from sign to van radar (200m?) . As we all lifted our foot off the ‘loud pedal’ at the narrowing to one lane, and would be braking, this unattended ‘force’ could collect significant sums – -better than catching crims, eh?

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

        A maximum of a year between MOTs before that is disallowed.

  2. jerry
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    “Electric cars generate at least as much as petrol and diesel, and if they have heavy batteries for range and performance reasons they may create a bit more from greater weight.”

    I take it you have never heard of regenerative braking, turning the electric traction motor(s) into a generator that then has a variable resistive load applied against it, using either the traction batteries or resistant mats (that produce heat) – the railways have used such technoligy for years, both F1 and Formula E sports cars have been using it more recently.

    As for petrol and diesel engined cars, at least those with manual or semi-automatic transmission, it would help if the DVSA mandated that new drivers have to demonstrate how they can control and bring a vehicle to a near stop using nothing but the gearbox and engine braking, rather than reliance on the friction linings of the braking system.

    Reply Are you suggesting you don’t need brakes and theY do not get used on an electric car? I am mainly talking about tyre wear.

    • jerry
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 5:55 am | Permalink

      OT; Figuratively speaking, how can a slight case of political hiccups late yesterday afternoon be so mis-medicated that by mid evening it had turned into a case of (possible) dysentery?!

      I guess that is what comes from trying to promote someone woefully under qualified to the post of pharmacist, the bottles become mixed up on their shelves…

      • Nigl
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

        Indeed. A close ally of another failed chemist.Promoting someone with the nickname ‘failing’ was never a good seems never about competence, maybe in short supply, but always some sort of payback for ‘mates’

        • jerry
          Posted July 16, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

          @Nigl; More like attempting to keep something under-wraps I suspect, we will see next week I guess.

          If the writers of Yes Prime Minster had come up with such a script, as we have seen from govt this week, it would have been dismissed as to far fetched even for satire.

    • jerry
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

      @JR reply; No, I’m saying that friction linings do not need to be used, there are other braking methods. I replied to your comment regarding brakes not tyres!

      • jerry
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        Sir John, might I add, it is possible to immerse friction linings, usually multi-plate, in oil, these are commonly used in automatic style transmissions but can be used as a braking system, many tractors and plant machinery use this type of system. Far more complicated (and expensive to replace/repair) but it does remove the problem of brake dust, such particles end up suspended in the oil.

      • NickC
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, Yes, conventional brakes do have to be used. A battery car without them would be unsafe – and illegal.

        A BEV is around 40% heavier (Leaf vs Clio) than an equivalent petrol vehicle so will use more energy for braking and must have bigger tyres. That makes BEVs worse for tyre origin particulates, and possibly for brake dust too, even with some regenerative braking.

        • jerry
          Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

          @NickC; You have totally missed my point, as usual…

          • NickC
            Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, The only alternative to friction linings you mentioned was “regenerative braking”. Yet regenerative braking on its own is insufficient to control a car safely or legally. Battery electric cars are heavier than their petrol equivalents so will create much more tyre dust and probably more brake dust too. Those facts contradict your contradiction of JR’s original (and correct) points.

          • Fred H
            Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

            you should write more clearly – you confuse everyone!

          • jerry
            Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

            @NickC; As I said, you have failed to understand anything I was talking about, I even gave examples were such technology is already used away from road vehicles and has been for years.

            You mention current examples of what is used today in EV’s, I’m trying to suggest future ways of achieving the same goal and reduce pollution.

            You and others seem to think it is impossible to stop vehicle without using dry-lining, air cooled, friction brakes, fact is you can, if you understand how differing technologies work and their capabilities.

          • NickC
            Posted July 18, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, If only . . . If only . . . If only we had affordable anti-gravity machines instead of costly old-fashioned reaction engines we could all go on holiday to the Moon rather than Blackpool.

            Practicality, safety, and costs cannot be brushed aside as easily as you propose. Not only are friction brakes on every available roadworthy battery electric car now, they will be for years to come. Even though most already have regenerative braking anyway.

            That means they generate some brake dust. They also generate worse tyre dust (because they’re heavier). Which was the original point.

          • jerry
            Posted July 19, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

            NickC; Stop showing your utter ignorance about mass & inertia, you are the one peddling “anti-gravity” myths. So you think if you sit on a go-kart and are pushed over the brow of a hill you’ll either stay the same speed or slow-up to halt rather than get faster?! LOL…

            “Practicality, safety, and costs cannot be brushed aside as easily as you propose

            Who is doing that, all the systems I’ve suggested are already being used in other vehicle types, multi-plate wet lining brakes are common tractors, resistive braking is already used on the railways, heck even many cars already use the torque converter to give (hydrokinetic) fluid braking and have done since the 1930s at least when the fluid flywheel became popular coupled to a pre-selector gearbox.

            ” they will be for years to come.”

            Oh you mean like a gearbox could nave be placed in the engine sump, using the same oil, or there could never be a road wheels less than 12″ dia, because brakes can not be miniaturised any smaller? That is what many ‘expert pundits’ from the monthly car mags though back in early 1959, by the end of that year BMC was selling the both technologies in a mass produced car, the original Mini…

            So an EV is heavier than a 1959 BMC Mini, but then so is the BMW Mini, never mind their top of the range X series SUV’s – I don’t hear you calling for everyone to drive around in old 1950s Fiat 500s or a Citroen 2CV to cut tyre pollution…

            NickC, If only . . . If only . . . If only, you would take your technophobic blinkers off…

    • Know-Dice
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      As Jerry says regenerative braking has been used for many years in Formula 1 (KERS) and other industries and its use on electric vehicles could mitigate against the excessive use of mechanical brakes on these vehicles.

      In fact why not make if “mandatory” to have regenerative braking on all electric and hybrid cars…the technology is there already?

      • Know-Dice
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

        This article is quite interesting –

        “When considering clean air, a few more points need to be considered – particle size, weight and shape, and of course what a particle is made of. Brake emissions tend to dominate the makeup of particulate matter in urban areas (where traffic must brake more regularly) – being responsible for over 55% of non-exhaust related emissions. This is due to brake particles being smaller in size (less than 0.1mm) and light enough to be caught in air turbulence, and can easily enter human airways. While these particles are difficult to visualize, if you have spent time in an underground train station, you probably have an appreciation of how these particles can affect the environment.”

        • miami.mode
          Posted July 16, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

          K-D, Birmingham New Street almost ranks as an underground station and people who have used it, albeit infrequently, tell me they have sometimes felt quite nauseous.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      It is surprising how little energy you actually get back from regenerative braking by the time you have converted the kinetic energy back to electricity and then charged a battery, discharged it and converted it back to kinetic energy with the motor. Better than nothing but not by that much. Most sensible drivers look ahead do not brake heavily that often anyway on many journeys.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      And you don’t seem to know that regenerative braking is a feature of the majority of hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius. You still need brakes though, and you still get tyre wear as John has indicated.

      • jerry
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        Roy, of course I know that, I could have written a blog longer than our hosts on the subject!

        What your do not seem to understand is RB pre-existed RG in EVs and Hybrids.

        Like @LL you failed to understand that I was talking about resistive braking (RB), not regenerative charging (RG), yes the same system can be used to charge a battery but it has been used for decades as a brake, simply pointing out that friction linings are not the only way of stopping.

        Also RB braking could be developed to a point were the conventional braking system becomes nothing more than the parking and emergency brake.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

          you really do leave people misunderstanding what you write Must try harder!

        • NickC
          Posted July 16, 2020 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

          Jerry, Battery electric cars have short ranges. The whole point of regenerative braking is to add a little something back into the battery to squeeze out a few miles more range. Dissipating the braking energy across resistors simply wastes that energy as heat. Moreover, braking has to be controllable by the driver to drive the car safely – machine braking and car braking are quite different. I think you’re hand waving.

          • jerry
            Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

            @NickC; Thanks for reminding us about today’s world, try thinking 10-20 years ahead…

            Even battery technoligy can not be improved and thus allow resistive braking I also added a comment about wet lining friction brakes, after all the subject of our hosts blog was not about EVs but pollution, try reading it…

            As for your daft comment about machine braking, you think resistive (and hydrokinetic) train brakes are not controllable by the driver?!

          • NickC
            Posted July 18, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, You cannot plan sensibly on what might be. Plans need to be grounded on what is. For example, fusion is notorious for being “only” 10 years away – and has been for the last 60 years. It would therefore be foolish to plan on the basis of it being available in 2030.

            There are all sorts of detail differences in braking methods from dry to wet lining, and regenerative braking for AC and DC electric motors. But even HS trains retain mechanical brakes for controllability and safety reasons. So continue to produce brake dust.

          • jerry
            Posted July 19, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

            NickC; “You cannot plan sensibly on what might be.”

            What utter nonsense, if you are correct how in the world did R. J. Mitchell & Supermarine ever design the Spitfire, how was the Hawker Hurricane developed, what about Concorde… Heck, why was the first motor car ever developed, after all the streets were only fit for the horse and cart…

            “fusion is notorious for being “only” 10 years away “

            Cutting edges of science knowledge, but what I’m suggesting is long standard proven and used technology that only need to be further refined for use in smaller vehicles.

    • Fred H
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      where do the tyre particles go? On the road – look at a clear view of a car racing track.
      The particles then get blown about affecting pedestrians and cyclists, others stick to the road surface to be released perhaps later.
      Car cabin filters may well capture these to reduce problems inside the vehicle.
      Various types of road surface have varying degrees of possible surface friction, work was put in to reduce noise, improve adhesion when wet etc.

  3. turboterrier
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Thank you, thank you , thank you at last a well thought out comment based on facts not emotions and common sense. Confirmation what the honest ones amongst us have always appreciated and understood that the green blob believes only believe the bits that fit well with their religion that renewable energy and saving the world has become.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 6:06 am | Permalink

      @turboterrier, Agreed to much emphasis in following the tribe and an innate fear of challenging the religion of others.

      If we stamp out challenges to beliefs, we stamp out freedom and the point of calling ourselves democratic.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink


    • turboterrier
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      SORRY. missed out ….no before common sense

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      The green blob want to de industrialise us. They are the same people as in XR andBLM
      They don’t want improvement in technology they just want outright bans.
      There are 2 articles in todays Telegraph about hydrogen development and Small Modular Reactors (SMR,s).
      Now we have China out of telecoms let’s get them out of our energy infrastructure. Develop British for a change.

  4. Mark B
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Good morning, Citizens

    The Green movement now purely exists to for its own ends. We have never had cleaner, better lives. We are living longer and healthier lives and better enjoy the environment we live in. Gone is the Big Stink of 1858. No more do we wake up to find outside our homes is a thick smog waiting to greet us. Various diseases, once common, are no more. Yet ‘they’ demand more. It has taken on an almost religious zeal and anyone who is an seen as an unbeliever is shunned.

    If the Greens really cared about the planet then they would be better off going to places like India and China who, are building more and more CO2 producing power. By abandoning a good energy mix we are leaving the field to them for cheap reliable energy and economic prosperity.

    But the virtue signallers and troughers have us by the balls and are leading us off a cliff. When one hears stories such as that that is going on at Hinkley Point, one shudders with disbelief. Never has a people been so poorly served.

    • jerry
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      @Mark B; Indeed, but it was going to be downhill all the way from 1984 and that little white lie about Coal, even back then it was possible to remove the harmful sulphur’s etc from the fuel, but no we needed to be rid of coal to “save the planet” (yet Mrs T was meant to be a chemist). Today CCS is a proven technoligy, unlike so much of the green dream.

      You get what you pay for, or elect…

      • Edward2
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        You say Carbon Capture and Storage is a proven technology.
        It is a technology that is still being developed.

        There is no large scale CCS plant in operation in the UK.
        The government has just given yet another grant of many millions to see if one might be built.

        • jerry
          Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

          @Edward2; The IC engine is still being “developed”, you point being what exactly?

          • NickC
            Posted July 16, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, The point is that the IC engine is commercially proven technology but there is no equivalent commercial scale CCS. You are using the word “developed” in two distinct ways – it is a debating trick.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 16, 2020 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

            My point is you said CCS is a proven technology.
            And it isn’t.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 16, 2020 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

            Hundreds of millions of internal combustions engines have been produced.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 17, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

            The government have just invested £800 million in CCS research.
            The industry body say they hope to have the first plant working some time between 2024 and 2030.
            I wish them well.

          • jerry
            Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

            @NickC; @Edward2; But then the IC engine was not developed 100 years ago like it is today, heck it was still basic by today’s standards 40 years ago. Your point is an irrelevant to the future.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 17, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

            I hope carbon capture and storage will in years to come be successful at a large scale.
            Currently it is more of a theory than a proven technology.

          • NickC
            Posted July 17, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, The claim you made was that “Today CCS is a proven technoligy” (sic). It isn’t. That’s the point. By contrast the IC engine is already proven.

          • jerry
            Posted July 18, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

            @NickC; @Edward2: You really can’t grasp a concept beyond what you can see outside your window – or more likely, what you want to see.

            CCS is a proven technoligy, just not highly developed because there is no economic demand, just as EVs were around back in the 1930s but there was little reason to develop them further, other than for very specific jobs.

            Nothing will ever be developed further if there is no demand!

          • Edward2
            Posted July 18, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

            If it a proven technology where are any examples you can tell us about.
            But at least you are calling it a concept now.

          • NickC
            Posted July 18, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, You really can’t grasp a concept beyond what you can see outside your window – or more likely, what you want to see. CCS is not “proven technology”. Listen carefully – there are no commercial CCS plants in the UK. CCS exists as theories and at the laboratory level. Only.

          • jerry
            Posted July 19, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

            NickC; “Listen carefully – there are no commercial CCS plants in the UK.”

            Of course not as there is no commercial customers, coal is all but dead and gas and oil is fast following…

            There is no commercial supersonic aircraft flying either, are you going to deign that Concorde could never have existed also, nor could it again?!

      • Hope
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        The fake Tories are buying and importing 86% of our coal from Russia!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink


    • Mark B
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Sir John

      That was a shameless piece of censorship of my opening line. What are you afraid of ?

  5. Ian @Barkham
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Good morning Sir John

    As you say pollution is the one to tackle. That should be way ahead of the phobia on CO2 emissions.

    There is more than the wear and tear pollution to contend with, there is also noise and light. Each in there own way has a negative effect on our well being.

    Pollution is also how things arrive at market and their production process. A Jaguar is produced and delivered with far less pollution than a VW Golf, yet the government subsidizes the Golf through its tax system – weird.

    The battery car, its production, its delivery and short life span cause it to become more polluting than the internal combustion engine. As yo not the extra weight creates more wear & tear on its brakes and tyres. It use brakes more as there is no engine braking.

    It is the worrying thing about the quality of our decision makers, the in ability to think a project through. The focus is about being ‘Woke’, being on message with the latest MsM fad. They need to start challenge some of these miss guided perception that are about hearding society and not expanding it.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 6:18 am | Permalink

      oops shorthand again – As you note the extra weight

    • Nigl
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

      Phobia? Yours I think about CO2/emissions. Are you saying that their molecules are not trapping heat in our atmosphere leading to warming/climate change?

      I look forward to your scientific paper countering established thinking, I believe first identified in 1800s.

      You and the deniers are more dangerous than the Greens, who if somewhat over zealous, have and will continue to improve our quality of life.

      • Ian @Barkham
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        Who is denying anything. The subject is the pollution we cause

      • NickC
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        Nig1, Surely you’re not saying you’ve fallen for the CAGW hoax?

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      I actually got to talk to an owner/driver of an all electric car in the car park of the supermarket. She was full of praise, saying she could get 300 miles from one charge. As she had only had it 2 months I asked ” what happens in winter when the heater/wipers/ lights/ heated screens etc are on virtually full time?” – “I’ll find out” – was the answer.
      The two points she mentioned was – one, a full overnight charge was 12 hours ( to get the 300 mile ( good weather only) drive. And the other was her praise for the drop in cost to her compared to petrol. With the govt wanting all cars to be electric – meaning a massive drop in tax revenue from petrol/diesel to the govt – what does the govt intend to tax to replace that loss?

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        what does the govt intend to tax to replace that loss?

        That would be your electricity, thank you.

      • NickC
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

        Bigneil, The government is not sincere. How do I know? – because they’re not building the necessary extra electricity generation plant.

        It’s not just cars. All new houses built after 2025 will not be able to use gas for hot water or central heating. It’s completely bonkers.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink


      Certainly agree about noise pollution, anyone living on a main road will confirm many motor bike and car owners seem to have abandoned the idea of efficient silencers and want to make as much noise as they can.

      Not usually one for more legislation (if indeed it is needed) but surely this is a simple one to monitor and control, in years past it was an offence have a loud and non standard silencer.

    • jerry
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Indeed Ian, whilst your Jaguar vs. Golf example is good but misses the real problem area these days, long distance shipping, surely better to make widgets here in the UK, or at least in the EU27, rather places such as China, the product then spending 6 highly but largely unseen weeks on the high seas to get to market or second-stage production.

      • Ian @Barkham
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        Shipping is indeed a big factor. On balance though the JLR facilities in the UK are as clean as currently practical(solar etc.), while VW is still using its own coal fired power station to fuel production – that seems a contradiction when the UK taxes one off the road at the expense of the other.

    • Barry
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Interesting points. With regard to Jaguar, I assume that there is less pollution because it is produced closer to home. However, how many of its parts are home produced? I don’t know but I suspect not that many.

      I’m wary of battery cars but I like the idea. However, my experience of products with rechargeable batteries has not been favourable. They’re very convenient at first but a royal pain when they get older and the battery performance deteriorates. Furthermore, we hear very little about the origin of the materials that go into the batteries and electric motors (the same goes for wind farms).

      I’m not an engineer but I understand that a modern, well maintained petrol engine is a very refined, clean and efficient device. They seem to go on and on with little maintenance. I suspect that they are being relegated to the scrap yard far too early.

      • Ian @Barkham
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        The real point is the VW Group production facility is fed by energy from their own coal fired power stations. Then again Jaguar is an Indian Company and as you say the component’s?

    • DavidJ
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, being “woke” is more like being asleep where real issues are concerned. Sadly government is letting them get away with their disruptive demonstrations.

    Posted July 16, 2020 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    People aren’t choosing to switch to electric cars, they are being compelled to do so by a hectoring political class and their newly embraced activist friends. It’s the same type of fear inducing, threatening culture across all areas of life in oppressive Britain today

    The virus that is the neo-Tory party working hand in hand with Labour and their socialist allies to create a new world in which identity dictates how the oppressive State treats you with regards to the criminal law.

    I am hoping that at some point people do wake up and achieve a degree of awareness of what is happening as the scum political State infected by extremists herd millions of individuals in one direction or another to suit their agenda

    We can see the Tory game in action. They have one simple strategy, step back when the heat is on and keep stepping back until the heat is off. At some point there’ll be nowhere left to step back to

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink


    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Indeed. Just as they rammed those awful compact fluorescents down out throats, smart meters, condensing boilers, “renewable” intermittent energy and other totally misguided things onto us.

      Government just love wasting your money, your time and bossing you about. When thing work better and are at the right price people will buy them without rigging the market or bribing them with tax payers money.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        And very expensive, over the top, green lunacy building regulations too.

    • Hope
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      Dom, you have to laugh at the idiotic Fake Tories. Who in their right mind would appoint Grayling for anything! His record is of consistent failure. He was the running man for Mayhab to be PM that should serve to be expulsion from the party and lose he whip!

    • DavidJ
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      I agree Dominic, I doubt there is enough generation capacity to recharge all those electric cars they want us to have. It is also developing technology so many will be obsolete and worthless all too soon.

    • MrVeryAngry
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Well, the last step back will likely be over the cliff…

    • NickC
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      Dominic, Almost worse than the battery cars without fuel fiasco, the Tory government is dictating that all new houses built after 2025 cannot use gas for hot water or central heating. I despair at the idiocy.

    • Ed M
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink


      In the context of the economy, who cares?

      If there’s money to be made out of electric cars by making great ones here in the UK and exporting them abroad, let’s go for it! (And get the government on board).

  7. John P
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Your government has done more to damage public health than any number of trucks or buses. They have actively conspired to subvert the NHS and fraudulently create a pandemic from nothing and thereby deprive people of not only health care but also freedom and their livelihood.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      A left wing Marxist commentary news paper will never have a good word to say about the UK or anyone that wishes to stand on their own 2 feet

  8. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    So now those folks in the Treasury will already be at their desks figuring out a brake and tyre tax. Thanks.

  9. Andy
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    One Tory MP said: “Chris Grayling is the the only man ever to lose a rigged election.”

    If nothing else at least this government’s incompetence can help us all to keep laughing.

    • NickC
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      Andy, One of the other things we can laugh at this government for is believing the same CAGW hoax that you do.

    • Edward2
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      It is just a coincidence that the winner is a mate of Bercow and Grieve of course.

  10. MPC
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Green enthusiasts want more public transport usage and fewer journeys by private car. So if electric cars remain relatively expensive and inconvenient there will be fewer of them, such that the pollution via tyres you discuss will be reduced. Greens are disinterested in freedom of choice in private transport for people who are not wealthy and who resent the coercion to buy electric cars.

  11. Nigl
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Off topic but current. A recent report said what we all know, the police are hounding speeding motorists to ‘milk’ the fines to the detriment of other duties, at the weekend we here some people/businesses are paying up to £200 a month to private forces to give them the protection the police should be providing and prosecuting people rather than a ‘nothing; penalty that frees criminals up, sometimes to go back to rob the same shops.

    Equally we see failure to deal with other really serious issues for fear of being seen to be racist etc.

    When will your government get a grip on this and sort it out? your inaction looks like acquiescence or inability.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      A recent report said what we all know, the police are hounding speeding motorists to ‘milk’ the fines to the detriment of other duties

      Sadly, this is true. Having recently moved to Dorset I was surprised to see that sections of the A35 have a 10 mph speed limit. The local constabulary jog along the side of the road and nick anyone who overtakes them. They are raking it in.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      at the weekend we here some people/businesses are paying up to £200 a month to private forces to give them the protection the police should be providing

      You expect the police to patrol outside your house to provide protection?

  12. Pat
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    We have the world’s best automotive engineers in the UK, in F1.

    They have lead the way in regenerative braking for some years now.

    Perhaps it’s time for a chat to see whether they can do more Eg on tyre wear

    We will find some win win solutions here

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps it’s time for a chat to see whether they can do more Eg on tyre wear

      I’m no expert but the engineers in Formula 1 are so useless they have to have 2 or 3 sets of tyres in every race. I don’t think they are the boys to tell you how to limit tyre wear.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        I imagine they are sacrificing tyre wear for speed? Or even on a ‘Mobil Economy Run’ – anybody remember them?

  13. JimS
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Bikes have brakes? Really? Do their owners know this?

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Don’t be silly, that would be like suggesting they can think for themselves.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      Bikes have brakes? Really? Do their owners know this?

      Too right. I use mine regularly to avoid being killed by car drivers that seem incapable of noticing I am right in front of them when they get to a T junction. They are so busy looking to the right to see if anything is coming – because, heaven knows, they don’t want to have to slow down or stop – they don’t see what is in front of them.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

        but when we stop at a junction, following cyclists seem happy to go round the front of stopped cars and aim to get away first – a sort of death wish I suppose.

  14. David Cooper
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Your title “Clean Air” says it all. As with “Black Lives Matter” and – for those of us with longer memories – the “Anti-Nazi League”, this illustrates one of the left’s principal weapons in gaining more control. It involves taking a phrase or slogan that comprises a goal or a proposition with which disagreement or objection would be difficult, and then using it to further a hidden agenda of taxation, bans and regulation.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      You have to create a them and us before you can dismantle society.

      I am still looking forward to the day that someone can demonstrate a race that is different from the Human Race.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      A bit like “extending choice”, “take back control”, “back to basics”, and the rest?

      • steve
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:39 pm | Permalink


        “extending choice”, “take back control”, “back to basics”

        …yep, it’s all bllx isn’t it.

        Still at least we know we’ve been had, and next general election can be as interesting as we make it.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 17, 2020 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

          well the electorate keep falling for emotional messages – Conservatives? – – why not again?

          That very clever Mr Cameron, Eton you know, and his lovely little family…..
          Well she might not be Mrs Thatcher, but daughter of a vicar, collects shoes and has just an ordinary husband….
          Nice to have a blond funny man, very classical educated you know, sorted London Mayor job and anything is better than the opposition….

          My crystal ball shining again?

      • NickC
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

        No, Martin. “Take back control”, the main slogan of the VoteLeave campaign, referred to taking back control from your EU empire and becoming an independent country again. You know – like most of the rest of the world.

  15. Bryan Harris
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Excellent summary.

    Petrol & diesel cars are an easier target for the green lobby than their components . Not sure how they will attack tyres and brake systems …. but we’d best be prepared for an attack on footwear as well — Plastic or man-made materials going into shoes will be the next no-no…. And they won’t like leather shoes for the same reason as tyres — Perhaps they will allow us to wear clogs?

    Perhaps they will demand flying cars be introduced to save wear on tyres, but they will find something wrong with that idea.

    The only thing that will come close to satisfying the greenies is for us to give up industrialisation, (Except for the green elite of course) and live as we did in the dark ages

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      Clearly we need steel wheels on cars, like they have on trains. Seems to work for them. And, as for braking, we need driverless cars so they automatically stay the right distance apart.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        Mike, Well if they are over £40k then you won’t be buying one then.

  16. Pat
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Our universities should be encouraged to address this too.

    Perhaps our government can find a way to encourage vehicle development and use those developments to integrate with vehicle manufacture in the UK

    This is an opportunity for UK academia and industry.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Our universities should be encouraged to address this too.

      Already addressed , I am sure. You must be able to do a degree in being a spanner monkey, surely.

  17. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    ‘. There are still some old diesel buses, lorries and cars that do emit higher levels of particulates.’

    Exactly, so why are modern cars costing over £40k taxed so heavily? Our lives are being dictated to by people who have no concept or understanding of pollution. They are driven by the mob who bray outside strategic places making a nuisance of themselves to others and hindering our economy. Can we please have more sensible MP’s like yourself John to really think this through before disaster strikes this country and our car industry is wiped out together with many other industries reliant on energy to function.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Exactly, so why are modern cars costing over £40k taxed so heavily?.

      Look, matey, you need to get with the program. If you can afford a car costing over 40 THOUSAND POUNDS, you need to be taxed until you can’t afford it.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        Mike what an ignorant reply. What I spend my money on is my business. I don’t go on holiday. I don’t take flights. After working all my life I should not be penalised fir choosing what to buy. I have no mortgage. It was paid off years ago when I was driving old bangers. Keep your ignorant opinions to yourself.

      • turboterrier
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        Mike Wilson

        Unless I have got this wrong no matter what the price you pay for anything , unless you are being bank rolled by HMG you would have already played tax on what you have learnt. I think what FUS is on about is the tax on the better vehicles is nothing more than an envy tax. When you have worked long and hard to buy say a new BMW why should yo pay more than someone buying a Dacia maybe with your comment you would appear to suffer from envy.

    • turboterrier
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 5:23 pm | Permalink


  18. Lifelogic
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Exactly right.

    “Even a bike has brake pad and tyre wear” – Indeed bikes are also fuelled by extra food intake – which is rather energy intensive to produce, package, transport, refrigerate and cook. A very inefficient fuel indeed in energy and Co2 terms (if you are concerned by the C02 religion) . Plus you might need a hot shower once you get there or back too so even more energy and water wasted!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      A cyclist who is a heavy meat eater is probably far worse in co2 terms than a small car engine. This as beef (for example) might use us to about 20 times the energy to produce it than is in the meat. Then the cyclist converts only perhaps 25% of it to kinetic energy. So perhaps 1KJoule of pedal power needs 80 KJoules of grain or grass! 1.25% efficient.

      Far less efficent than a car running on petrol and I have not included all the processing, packaging, tranport and cooking yet. But it seems the green loons in government do not understand physics or do simple sums.

      • hefner
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

        Ridiculous. You have not accounted for anything related to the fabrication and disposal of the car, nor for the extraction, refining and transport of the petrol.
        And I doubt that the car driver is surviving on fresh air. Is that the result of a Cambridge education?

      • hefner
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

        Do I understand that as a car driver you do not eat and therefore do not incur a similar cost in energy that might have been required to feed you?

    • hefner
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      In town, a very economical car will use 4 l petrol per 100 km. For a 10 km trip that’s 0.4 l petrol. 1 l of petrol is around 45MJ/kg. Assuming the petrol density being like that of water, l is equivalent to kg. So 10 km in the economical car is 18MJ in energy (0.4 x 45).
      A well-fed cyclist might consume 4000 cal/day, 4kcal, ie 16.72kJ (4000 x 4.18). So the 10 km bicycle ride is 18,000 / 16.72 = 1,077 times more energy efficient.
      I admit I did not account for the shower back home.
      And BTW it is energetically cheaper to build a bike than a car.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

        And time taken?

        • hefner
          Posted July 17, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

          If you had read the original message, LL’s point was not about the time taken for a trip, but the energy used.
          Is that a squirrel over there?

          • Edward2
            Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

            Which is why I made my point.
            Both of you are missing the important feature of time taken to complete the journey.

            There is no squirrel, only in your imagination.

      • NickC
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

        Hefner, Your maths and assumptions are all to pot. Your hypothetical car uses about 13MJ (because the sg of petrol is 0.72). A well fed cyclist would need at least 3000 kcals/day (ie: “large” calories, not your absurd 4000 cals/day). That is 3000 x 4184J = 12.55MJ. Or pretty much the same energy. Then there is the shower. And few cyclists can manage a 300km drive.

        • hefner
          Posted July 17, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          1 calorie is 4.1855 Joules, so your 12.55MJ becomes a 12.55kJ for a 3000 cal cyclist.
          And if you had read properly I quoted a 10 km ride, like what I do twice a week to go to my not-so local supermarket.
          So who is potty?

        • hefner
          Posted July 17, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

          Sorry, NIckC, you’re right: I mixed up the calorie (SI) and the Calorie used for food.

          • NickC
            Posted July 18, 2020 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

            Hefner, Thank you.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, but think of the energy making the car and the problem disposing of it. And, if the aircon is not working you might need a shower after driving home from work.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Yep, the argument on marginal impact of bikes vs cars per km just goes on and on. The rough averaging seems to imply that two cyclists might be better to car pool in a hybrid than cycle (in terms of CO2 equivalent emissions). Obviously energy production (conversion) and agriculture are very varied, as is the mix of emissions (so there is a short term – long term argument). It would also require behaviour changes of the cyclists if instead they car pooled i.e. they would need to eat less, this might be unlikely as the average UK driver is about 5kg heavier than the cyclists i.e. they are probably consuming the calories anyway. Bizarrely there are drivers who use stationary exercise bikes anyway – just using up that food without going anywhere. Getting people to give up aerobic exercise except for a real journey and to ride (repair and keep) a moped rather than drive is a big ask – still we live in a dictatorship so it may happen.

  19. Everhopeful
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Mankind survived though…up to this point anyway.
    Who knows whether smoke etc actually does kill?
    Science, from being imbued with religion, is now ultra political.
    So we do not truly know.
    The question is …can we survive the cruel and clumsy manhandling to which we are presently subjected?

  20. Javelin
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    FYI. At the peak of the lock down I posted there were 4 cars at Walton on Thames train satiation, one of the busiest commuter stations. Two weeks ago it went up to 14. Today it is still at 14.

    As I said before lockdown. Only the vulnerable need to be locked down.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      The main purpose of lockdown was to prevent the infected from spreading the disease. Preventing the uninfected from being infected was a consequential benefit.

      If the virus becomes endemic here – as you appear to intend – then this country as a whole will be quarantined by the civilised, concerned world, and rightly so.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

        It is a western problem. No country should have done full lock-down once we found out that a fraction of 1% are killed and 90% of that fraction have known conditions and can be isolated.

        The price of being free nations is to be prepared to take some risk at times.

        Sweden has not had a lockdown and as a death rate 112/million lower than ours.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

          No, your facts are wrong.

      • NickC
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

        Martin, If the main purpose of the government’s official lockdown was to prevent the spread of covid19 as you claim, then locking down our borders in February, as Trump did, would have been more effective. But that was not the main purpose. It was to “Save the NHS”.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

          Indeed Nick
          Your facts are right.

  21. Everhopeful
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Please do not forget fireworks and music!
    Politicians living in reasonable areas do not understand.
    Is the govt. terrified of stopping fun? Not fun on receiving end.
    There may be laws but few obey and there are no police.
    Quick enough to lock us in but no care for our quality of life!

  22. Roy Grainger
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Electric cars just transfer their emissions to the power stations. That has to be factored in to any calculations.

  23. Nivek
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    “The Green movement urges us to do better. They would like us to switch away from gas boilers at home”

    I would like to know if you have canvassed the opinion of the low cost heating demographic. I suspect that they are concerned for politicians to do better.

  24. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink


    Have just heard on the radio, the govt comment ” We can’t support every job” – -No we can’t – but we clearly are expected to support every person ( who have absolutely NO intention of having a job – and inevitably their families – who arrive through Calais via BF.

    Race hate is in the news – clearly WE are the target by our own govt.

    • Andy
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Yet we can support every pensioner. £170+ handout every single week.

      If we can do it for the idle elderly we can do it for our young.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        Fine – but refund all the NI I’ve paid.

      • steve
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:38 pm | Permalink


        “If we can do it for the idle elderly we can do it for our young.”

        No. You have to work and put into the system before becoming entitled.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 17, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

          Andy tells us he is an employer yet he obviously has no understanding how National Insurance works.
          Very strange.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

        I bet your neighbours think you are a right bundle of laughs.

      • NickC
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

        Andy, Can you make any comment without invoking your hatred of the elderly? It seems not.

        Compared with those born into the impoverished post-WW2 years you have had it cushy. Why should the elderly have provided you with much better conditions than they endured? It’s not just your lack of gratitude for your free ride, it’s your dozy assumptions that it’s normal in the history of man, and that you’re entitled to it.

      • a-tracy
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        You are Ageist Andy and if it carried the same weight as other ‘ist’ terms you’d be in trouble with the law.

        You also are incorrect with your claim that ‘Yet we can support every pensioner. £170+ handout every single week.’ Many women are only on £81.32 per week or £4228.64 pa.

        Waspi women have also had to wait an extra 5 years for their contributory state pension that they were forced to take out by the government, many cancelling their private pensions because they couldn’t afford both when the NHS was created reassuring them there would be a State pension for them from 60 provided from their and their employer’s contribution record plus connected to their husband’s contributory record. Now if that was set up wrong don’t be blaming todays’ pensioners! This rule change came in by EU diktak on equality by Blair/Brown back in 2005.

  25. Adam
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Tube train brake dust and other particles in the tunnels pose substantive hazards. Forced air blows them into the carriages, sometimes as clouds, but most often unseen. Passengers’ lungs react like the dust bags on vacuum cleaners, removed in more complex operations.

    Nightworkers, mainly-women teams of ‘Fluffers’ working in the tunnels, have traditionally done the close-up dirty work of cleaning. Their prime task seemed to be removing stray female long hairs from points, and other essential intricate dirty jobs more linked to train functioning than user health.

    The colour and texture of tunnel walls reveal how thoroughly dirty they are.

  26. Pat
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    There is also the question of how clean we want the air, or anything else.
    We could keep our homes sterile, but nobody does because the cost exceeds the benefit.
    There is no doubt that it was worthwhile reducing the filth that existed in the fifties. Filth that you couldn’t not notice.
    But nowadays you need specialised equipment to detect polution.
    I suspect that the movement started in the fifties for the cause of cleaning up air and water has gone through the phase of being a business and become a racket.
    No organisation, formal or informal, ever disbands itself, even when it’s initial purpose is fully accomplished. It either invents new purposes, or in this case sets ever higher standards as an excuse for continued existence, which became its main concern soon after it’s formation.

    • steve
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink


      “We could keep our homes sterile, but nobody does because the cost exceeds the benefit.”

      …and also the fact that you’d probably make yourself seriously ill by doing so, what with your immune system making itself redundant.

  27. ChrisS
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    There have been several scientific studies in recent years that have shown that electric cars emit just as much in particulates as the latest diesel and petrol vehicles. Add in the far higher emissions from the production and disposal costs of the batteries, their use of rare earth metals and its disadvantages in terms of range, cost and the method of generating its electricity, and the case for the battery electric car is very weak indeed.

    The blame for this technological cul-de-sac lies firmly with grandstanding politicians who have been doing nothing more than pandering to the more extreme elements of the green movement which also have a strong anti-capitalist agenda.

    As for trains, I built two new houses adjacent to the famous railway line on the Dawlish sea front. Everything became covered in thin layer of rust because of particles of steel that come off of the rails and wheels as they wear. Anyone with a nearby house fitted with white UPVC windows soon finds they change to a yellow colour due to the rust. (Fortunately I was aware of the problem and used brown frames). I have no idea what effect the presence of these particles in the atmosphere might have on the long term health of people living by railway lines but it should be investigated.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      tongue-in-cheek response. Rust and red soil dust look very similar

      • ChrisS
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        When red sandstone dust lands on a chrome bumper it doesn’t cause pitting ! The amount of steel particles fron the railway is very surprising.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      I think that you mean “vested interest-led pseudo-scientific studies”.

  28. Translator
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    There was no mention of extravagant air travel to attend meetings in different parts of the globe – something which, during lockdown, has been proven to be totally unnecessary thanks to modern video conferencing technology. Successful airline companies are fast learning to adjust to the drastic drop in ticket sales and, although many people will lose their jobs as in other industries, the post lockdown situation is very much like the aftermath of a war and we all have to help to rebuild our country – hopefully by producing quality goods that we can sell to the rest of the world, thus achieving a more balanced economy.

  29. Cliff. Wokingham
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    A very interesting piece this morning Sir John.
    My late Mother in Law, lived just behind Winnersh Station, her window frames and garden furniture had a blue grey hard coating on them. This hard and abrasive coating was dust from the train’s brakes. I would hate to think what effect this dust would have on lungs when it was breathed in.

    As someone who grew up in East London in the middle of the last century before we went over to natural gas, I feel the air quality we now have is very good and very clean. I think we need nation’s to the East of us to make their air cleaner so that the whole planet will benefit.

  30. a-tracy
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    You could clearly see the benefit of switching from coal fires (other than for our next-door neighbour who delivered coal!). I remember the smog from the pot-banks and coal-fired council houses when they switched to coke it was an immediate benefit and even more with the old gas fires, no more fluorescent armbands to walk to school. What is wrong with the new gas boilers, they’re still selling them? What are they to be replaced with?

    As for electric cars, you have a big part of the solution in Government’s hands, only allow electric cars on mobility and cars for government use if you’re so confident in them, you should have pool electric cars recharged overnight for public sector staff to use on the odd time they require them rather than paying them to use their own cars. There are lots of people on this board that think there will be problems with batteries, end of life disposal, high-cost battery replacement unless you take the lead with purchases you can control people have no confidence to change.

    Because Government subsidises public transport to such a degree the big bus companies think they can just leave very old double-decker diesel buses that used to be in City centres roaming empty around small towns now they’re at the end of their lives breaking down and spewing out dirt labouring at stops for 5 minutes and more, much smaller more electric/hybrid buses could be used, when the new bus route was put on we had modern small buses bought with the subsidy and they took them off the run shortly after being awarded the contract!

  31. na
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Can we have a serious discussion about the possibilities of a world without a political class? I think we all know it is near its end now. So let’s open up the debate.

  32. James Bertram
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    UK deaths from air pollution average roughly about 30,000 per year. A significant part of this is vast quantities of ammonia from industrial agriculture (slurry, manure, fertliser). It combines with the particulates from road vehicles to produce a toxic cocktail; and thus industrial agriculture is the main pollutant of rural areas (also poisoning land and water sources too). Farming activities across the world are estimated to create a quarter of the World’s greenhouse gas emissions.

    Face masks will not stop such pollutants. 30,000 people will die in the UK from this annually, a similar figure perhaps to Covid-19 deaths.

    regarding face masks in shops, I have just written to my MP (and suggest others do the same) the following:
    ‘Regards the latest Government edict on face masks in shops, please note that I shall ignore it. I am a human being, and refuse to be treated in this degrading manner any further. This government needs to be booted out, and promptly.’

    At least, now you know, Sir John.

  33. Stred
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    The hysteria over diesel pollution was whipped up by green pressure groups three years ago when their campaign to abandon the internal combustion engine and reduce CO2 was getting nowhere. The analysis of the whole cycle had shown that an efficient diesel car produced the same amount as an electric car charged with the mix of generation in the UK. They used old US research which found that people living in polluted city areas lived on average a little less long than than country boys. This study has been challenged by others in the US.
    They multiplied the small loss of lifespan by the figure for the whole population and produced number of annual deaths from particulate and NO2 emissions which was 9,000 for London and 40,000 for the UK, then spokesmen told the media that these were actual deaths with people snuffing it solely due to pollution.
    Using their own figures for the % of diesel cars and the extension of lifespan if all diesel cars were banned from London, the extension was in weeks over 80 years. In other words it would never be measurable.
    This has not stopped the campaign and threats of bans in cities has crippled the car industry and devalued diesel cars with filters and lower NO2. In fact with the same ad blue system used on lorries and modern cars there would be zero emissions. Now they are moving to bad gas boilers using the same method.

    I had buy a small petrol car in order to park near my house and sell my old diesel jag in immaculate condition for £300 thanks to people like Gove and Boris turning into all Greta doom merchants.

    • Mark
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Good write-up of the statistical farce – the only thing you missed was that the uncertainty bands on the statistics are so wide that they include zero additional deaths, and assume that very small amounts of pollution are as bad pro rata as larger doses, and their correlation model would have implied that air polution would have caused over 100% of the deaths that actually occurred due to all causes in the past when there were higher levels of pollution.

      • Stred
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

        The last point was made by a Canadian professor I think. Given the excess deaths calculated at present, in the past pollution would have killed a huge %. If you have time and could post an analysis of the false stats and forecasts it could be put on here or Cons Woman on a link.

  34. MWB
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Pollution is directly proportional to the relentless increase in population.

    What about pollution in our rivers. Only 14% of English rivers are of acceptable quality. Water companies and farmers pollute, with little risk of being fined or jailed.

    How many people can England accomodate, and how many immigrants are the Border Force helping on their way here today ?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

      Dozens arrived in Dover today according to those who are in the know.
      Escorted and supported by our border farce.

  35. glen cullen
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    BEIS report that between 1970 – 2017 emissions across the range have been trending down…so emissions dramatically down last 40 yrs, CO2 down to 1850 level, and clean air pollution the best since records began…..all the stats on BEIS website to find – we’re being sold a lemon – there isn’t a prolem

    • Na
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      We are always sold a lemon, always

  36. Iain Gill
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    A lot of the pollution is in the car manufacture and disposal at end of life, together with the repair and service aspects.

    Every time a new tech which makes the exhaust gases trivially cleaner but makes the car slightly more unreliable is introduced, that leads to more trips to the garage for repair, and more heating/travel to work/etc for all the staff in the garage.

    The regulatory and tax regime is all about pushing the exhaust gases down, but has led to a number of remarkably unreliable technologies being introduced into the national fleet of cars, some which will force premature scrapping and others which will lead to lots of expensive repair time. None of this is “green” or producing net real reductions in pollution.

    Other “green” measures have just made it expensive to produce cars here, so production has moved abroad, which is not a net world improvement in pollution.

  37. oldtimer
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Carbon ceramic brakes produced by Surface Transforms produce less brake dust than conventional disc brakes. BUT they use very expensive technology to achieve this result. They are being adopted by ultra high performance manufacturers (as well as track day enthusiasts) because they save unsprung weight and run cooler that 1st gen carbon ceramic brakes. They are certainly not cost effective for a car produced in any significant volume.

    Probably tire degradation can be reduced by technological evolution too at a price. At the moment, though, safety appears to be the greater concern – witness the appearance of “winter” tires which, IIRC, are required by law in some countries to improve adhesion and braking performance when there is snow/frost/ice about.

  38. ukretired123
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    “The hydrogen revolution is a marvellous chance for Britain, if it does not throw away the prize” in today’s news sums up how we can turn a problem into a solution. It is often other countries like Australia (and China) who see this but not us. The government should help get it going surely.

    • Mark
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Hydrogen is the latest green fashion that would consume vast amounts of money to little effect. Making hydrogen by electrolysis using renewable electricity has been costed at 25-35$/MMBtu by energy consultancy Timera. The current price for natural gas is about 2$/MMBtu. Increasing the wholesale cost of gas by a factor of over 10 is surely madness. Even making hydrogen via the route of steam reforming of methane and using CO2 capture and storage comes out at around 15$/MMBtu according to Timera. It uses a lot of energy that could have been used from burning methane directly in boilers and hobs. That makes as much sense as insulating your home and then throwing open all the doors and windows in winter.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      hydrogen? do we really want car accidents turning into mini hindenburg?

      • ukretired123
        Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        Only if the tanks are made out of fabric. Honda and Hyundai have working demonstrators to prove it. With scale the cost fall. Check it out.

  39. Julian
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Just as matter of accuracy why are buses and other vehicles allowed to put ‘Zero Emissions’ sign on the side? These statements are untrue – the emissions have been moved not removed.

  40. John McDonald
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I think Sir John is making a good case to move more transport to Train and Tram which have metal wheels.
    But good to focus on a source of pollution which is not CO2. However an electric vehicle will generate less pollution at the time of use than Diesel and Petrol however modern and cleaner they maybe. It’s not just particles there are gasses too.
    How often do you see people parked up with their engines running, and what about our log fires at home and in Pubs. Consideration here, on the basis every little bit of effort to reduce pollution and waste helps. It’s not all down to Government responsibility alone.

  41. DavidJ
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    The problem that is never mentioned in respect of electric cars is the enormous pollution resulting from battery manufacture. I guess since most of that affects China it is case of out of sight out of mind.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Indeed also the batteries are very expensive, heavy, slow to charge, quick to decay, leak charge when standing & depreciate rapidly. Better battery technology is badly needed. Without it other technology might be better fuel cells, hydrogen, clean internal combustion.

      Plus off course you still need to generate and distribute all that electricity and need many millions of charge stations.

    • turboterrier
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 5:48 pm | Permalink


      Then thère is the disposal of the batteries. Yet to hear it being debated.

      Same when it comes to the disposal of all the other renewable crap, turbines blades and solar panels, that has been forced on us to pay for.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      Nor the large amount of fossil fuel energy that goes into this mining and manufacturing process, but this is all ignored by the green dopes when they falsely claim electric car are zero emission. As the transport minister often does.

  42. Mark
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I note that a large part of the reduction in pollution during the lockdown is being ascribed to freer traffic flow, with much less braking and stop-start conditions. Surely a lesson for city planners, who seem intent on ensuring that traffic is permanently in jams.

    Commenters may find it useful to look at the NAEI site, which provides charts of long term trends in various pollutants, and also maps showing their distribution broken down by source.



    Use the menu (top left) to choose the pollutant and sources of interest.

    • Fred H
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Fascinating – thank you!
      I’m surprised I can still breathe, and not glow in the dark.

    • Stred
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Looking at the graph for NO2 on the first link, the pollution level of this gas caused by cars, which according to the green activists is now causing a health crisis, is about one sixth of that 30 years ago. It’s surprising that the population wasn’t decimated. Yet asthma is supposed to be increasing according to the doctors against diesel.

    • Stred
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Particulates have reduced to a third over thirty years, presumably because they are still produced by brakes and tyres, whereas NO2 from engines has reduced by double the proportion and could be eliminated entirely with ad blue. So the real reason for banning diesel is CO2, but it produces less than petrol and the same as electric.

  43. Jim Whitehouse
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Electric and hybrid cars try to use regenerative braking to put the kinetic energy of the car back into the battery rather than wasting it as heat. They still tend to have friction brakes as a backup because the motors are not powerful enough for a full emergency stop. With careful driving, the standard brakes will hardly be used.
    Greater adoption of driver assist and fully automated driving will help as these systems tend to avoid racing up to things and braking hard. If they are little used, heat generation is less of a problem so they could perhaps be enclosed.
    I’ve heard it said that tyres could be made much longer lasting but there is not much appetite to do so – not sure how true that is!

  44. glen cullen
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Not clean air but hot air

    Cost of Parliament restoration & renewal est. £5.6 billion

    Cost of new build est.£800 million inner London (£600 million outer London)

    Guess which one our MPs are debating today

    • steve
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      glen cullen

      Yes this was interesting news. They are also considering moving parliament to York, while renovation of Palace of Westminster takes place.

      However being a cynic (justifiably these days) I interpret their use of the word renovation to mean fortification. I don’t trust that lot and err on the side of them knowing the game is up.

      Presumably they think they’ll be able to make a fast get away on their HS2 and be safe in York when it all hits the fan. They need to think again. We’ve been had over big time by these globalist EU loving puppets, and they’re starting to realise that we know it.

    • Stred
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Portcullis House cost about five times as much per unit area as a modern office in the city. The Scottish Parliament even more. They really know how to spend other people’s money.

  45. Ian Wilson
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations on a balanced summary free of the hysteria whipped u by pressure groups. Stred and DavidJ are spot on in highlighting how little pollution electric cars save, allowing for mining the battery minerals.
    The Global Warming Policy Foundation has just produced a report calculating that to upgrade local electricity networks to cope with universal electric car usage will entail digging up almost every street in Britain and countless driveways at a cost of some 200 bn, and you can bet the diggers won’t be electric.
    Now even the UN has pointed out the huge environmental damage of electric cars and their associated mining, perhaps we might ban electric cars instead of diesel? (tongue in cheek)

  46. beresford
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    On the subject of clearing the air when are the Government going to have a clearout of the left-wing judiciary, who can be relied on to consistently oppose the national interest. Ever since Tony Blair’s premiership they have had to commit to left-wing beliefs in order to advance into senior positions. The latest ruling that jihadis must be allowed to return to Britain to contest the removal of their citizenship is immensely damaging, we all know that even if they lose their cases the judges will not allow them to be deported. Once upon a time, we hung people who claimed British citizenship but fought against this country.

    • steve
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      “On the subject of clearing the air when are the Government going to have a clearout of the left-wing judiciary”

      They don’t have the balls.

  47. Mike Wilson
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    One has to wonder how electric cars are gaining traction, given we have nowhere near enough generating capacity and the battery production causes a lot of pollution. Why aren’t the government getting behind hydrogen?

    On the subject of clean air, I am enjoying wearing a mask in shops so much that I now wear one for fun. Some of you who think wearing a mask signals the end of days, should at least try wearing a scarf and see if you can cope for a couple of minutes.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      Strange way to have fun Matey

    • NickC
      Posted July 16, 2020 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

      Mike W, There is an American Chemical Society scientific paper on mask efficiency. Efficiency varies depending on particle size and can deteriorate by 50% or more if there are gaps (eg between the nose and cheeks). For common mask materials it’s never 100% anyway. Then there are handling and disposal contamination problems. Then contact, and the eyes, may be infection paths as well.

  48. steve
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink


    “The problem that is never mentioned in respect of electric cars is the enormous pollution resulting from battery manufacture”

    …….and what they also fail to mention is what to do with all the deadly poisonous elements from all those defunct batteries. (Assuming the globalists get their way and force everyone to have sh1tty electric cars.)

    • Original Chris
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Steve, the globalists of one world govt will apparently have all ordinary people pushing bikes up hills while the wealthy political elite drive their luxury electric vehicles cars around. All apparently in the name of “sustainability” (UN Agenda 21 and 2030)

  49. Robert Mcdonald
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Why don’t we reduce the size of the problem by continuing to work from home wherever possible. Less travel, less pollution, less need for big city offices, spend more time in the suburbs. Cleaner air and happier people, and from recent reports more productive.

  50. steve
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Interesting topic JR.

    I tend to agree with what you say, but have you not considered doing some research as to air pollution levels that might coincide with China being temporarily ‘shut down’ ?

    I think you may well discover a correlation.

    I suggest this because to my mind the planet can only withstand so much stinking-out. If global warming and climate change are indeed man made, China stands out as the culprit along with the entrepreneurial classes and corporates who irresponsibly industrialised that country with its population of 1+ Billion.

    We on our small island with a population of c: 60M should not be paying a price for their folly.

  51. ukretired123
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    O/T why not issue government Brexit Bonds (like older War Bonds) to finance some of the new initiatives to take advantage of genuine long-term structural opportunities afforded by Brexit. It would take some of the burden off the Public Finances under pressure on all fronts.

    • MIke Wilson
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Presumably not issued because people buying them would expect a return on their money. The government can borrow for nothing AT THE MOMENT.

  52. Yossarion
    Posted July 16, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    The English do not need Faux Justice John, the Bill of Rights was put there for a reason!

  53. David Williams
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Buses with no passengers. What a waste!

    Face masks have put everyone off public transport. The same will happen for shops.

  54. XYXY
    Posted July 19, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Agree wholeheartedly, use of diesel needs a review. If the government are trying to avoid dependency on fossil fuels (and the countries that produce them) then they should say so.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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