What is a congestion charge for?

Indigo Jo Blogs - 20 November, 2016 - 18:04

A road sign saying "Transport for London, Congestion charging, Central Zone, Mon-Fri 7am-6pm". The street scene behind is blurred but seems to include a Hard Rock Café sign.London mayor Sadiq Khan issues £2.5m VW congestion charge call

So, Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, is demanding that Volkswagen pay up £2.5m to compensate the London taxpayer for a discount that drivers of some of their diesel cars received from the London Congestion Charge as it was thought that they produced low emissions, which it is now known, since the “defeat devices” scandal, that they did not. 80,000 of these VW, Seat, Skoda and Audi cars were registered in London, although how many of them went into the congestion charge zone (the area inside the Inner Ring Road) every day is not clear. Probably more of them were used for commutes outside that zone, where there are some of the worst polluted roads in the country (like sections of the North Circular Road).

I was always opposed to the Congestion Charge right from when Ken Livingstone first proposed it before the 2000 mayoral election. Although perhaps it was beyond the mayor’s powers, I supported simply removing most of the parking in central London other than short stay and for residents, traders, disabled badge holders and maybe a few premium parking spots. The Congestion Charge was intended as a tax to fund public transport and was levied on goods vehicles as well, resulting in increased costs for companies that needed to deliver into central London. When Livingstone extended it into west London (which was largely responsible for losing him the 2008 mayoral election), a lot of his fans justified this on the grounds that “rich bastards” in places like Kensington would have to pay, but in fact those who drove from the new zone into the old one ended up paying less (not everyone in either part of the zone was rich; there are substantial tracts of council estate in Newington, North Kensington, Pimlico and elsewhere.)

 Low Emission Zone". A metallic turquoise car speeds past behind it; some Mock Tudor houses are the other side of the road.Similarly, the Low Emission Zone had the effect of driving businesses that could not afford to upgrade to new or almost-new trucks out of business or out of London; companies that could afford it cascaded the old trucks to their depots out of London and probably moved the newer ones in, making the job of lorry drivers (and the air) in the provinces a bit less pleasant. They also imposed it on industrial estates that are right on the edge of town, entirely pointlessly (as they are often accessed only by roads which are excluded). Again, the effect is to privilege bigger companies or those with access to big credit which can afford to buy new trucks and vans; companies outside London still running ‘old’ trucks (and bear in mind, Euro 4 — the minimum standard requried to come into the zone without paying a £200 daily charge — only appeared in 2007) are put at a disadvantage.

None of the cars mentioned in that report are tiny. They take up as much space on the road as any other average-sized hatchback. Exemptions should apply only to motorcycles and to very small cars which contribute little to congestion, regardless of their environmental footprint. After all, a road jammed up with ‘clean’ cars is still a jammed-up road, and buses and delivery vehicles can’t get through; encouraging people to buy new ‘clean’ cars does not actually help the environment, as the old car will probably be sold and kept running, and the production of the new car also causes pollution. A congestion charge should be targeted at reducing congestion, which means reducing the number of people commuting and cutting through by car — the environmental footprint may be low but the physical footprint is still the same.

Possibly Related Posts:

Jonathan Greenblatt: 'This proud Jew would register as a Muslim' in database

The Guardian World news: Islam - 18 November, 2016 - 19:24

Anti-Defamation League head vows to sign up to registry Trump promised while campaigning, legally obligating Muslim Americans to be tracked

The head of the Anti-Defamation League has vowed to sign up to a Muslim registry if it is established by Donald Trump.

Related: The US will no longer feel like a haven for Jews under Trump | Jonathan Freedland

Related: Trump picks Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Mike Pompeo for CIA chief

Continue reading...

Donald Trump: we need to track all Muslims in America – archive video

The Guardian World news: Islam - 18 November, 2016 - 08:45

Donald Trump tells NBC News in November 2015 that if elected president, he would implement a system to track Muslims in the country. ‘There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases,’ he tells NBC at a campaign event in Iowa, saying such policies would help America to crack down on illegal immigrants. Asked how he would implement such a system, Trump replied: ‘Good management’

Continue reading...

Spokesman claims Donald Trump never called for Muslim registry despite video evidence

The Guardian World news: Islam - 18 November, 2016 - 07:28

Spokesman for president-elect’s transition team said he ‘never advocated for any registry or system that tracks individuals based on their religion’, which is false

A spokesman for the Trump transition team has claimed that Donald Trump “never advocated” for a registry tracking individuals based on their religion, despite video evidence showing Trump doing exactly that.

Jason Miller, the communications director for the transition team, released a statement on Thursday in response to reports that the incoming administration has been considering a register for Muslims arriving in the US:

President-elect Trump has never advocated for any registry or system that tracks individuals based on their religion, and to imply otherwise is completely false.

The national registry of foreign visitors from countries with high terrorism activity that was in place during the Bush and Obama administrations gave intelligence and law enforcement communities additional tools to keep our country safe, but the president-elect plans on releasing his own vetting policies after he is sworn in.

Related: Muslims in Trump's America: realities of Islamophobic presidency begin to sink in

Continue reading...

Muslims in Trump's America: realities of Islamophobic presidency begin to sink in

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 November, 2016 - 13:00

For many Muslim Americans, threats of violence and discriminatory policies under Trump’s administration signal a need for increased political engagement

Fariha Nizam was sleepy and stressed last Thursday morning when she boarded the Q43 bus, which cuts through the affluent Queens neighborhood where Donald Trump was raised.

As a Muslim, she was concerned about the newly minted president-elect and his campaign promises that targeted Muslims, immigrants and women. But it wasn’t until an older white couple began yelling at her, 10 minutes into her weekly commute to her internship, that the reality of Trump’s America set in.

They were telling me I can't wear [the hijab] anymore

How we can use the leverage of our voting block in a post-9/11 world has become all the more critical

The platform [Trump] was running on, most of it was against me, as a human being, as a Muslim, as a minority.

We are saying to our Muslim brothers and sisters, be concerned but do not project yourself as a scared victim

Continue reading...

The Nigerian school for orphans of jihadists – and their victims

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 November, 2016 - 11:17

In a region where social bonds have been fractured by Boko Haram insurgency, the Future Prowess school is an unlikely model of cohesion

They make unlikely classmates. At a small primary school in north-east Nigeria, a group of uniformed orphans are greeting a visitor to their art class.

Some are the children of Boko Haram fighters. Others are the offspring of their victims.

Continue reading...

Islamophobia growing as anti-extremism policy fails, says MP

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 November, 2016 - 08:06

Supremacists will thrive, says Liam Byrne, unless government sees that grievance rather than god inspires many to violence

A vacuum at the heart of the government’s counter-extremism policy is leading British Muslims to despair in the face of spiralling Islamophobia, a former Labour Cabinet and Home Office minister has warned.

Related: Britain must lead the way in the battle of ideas that will defeat Isis | Liam Byrne

Related: Prevent strategy to be ramped up despite 'big brother' concerns

Related: Islamophobic hate crime: is it getting worse?

Related: Ethnic diversity among local leaders is so low it ‘defies analysis’

Continue reading...

Britain must lead the way in the battle of ideas that will defeat Isis | Liam Byrne

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 November, 2016 - 07:00
With Donald Trump heading for the White House, Theresa May needs a new counter-terrorism plan that addresses the grievances that turn many to violence

The wrong people are definitely cheering Donald Trump. Not just the odious Nigel Farage – but Islamic State commander Abu Omar Khorasani who declared this week that the “maniac” in the White House would increase terrorist numbers by thousands. With victory in Mosul on the horizon, now is the time for government to stop dithering and produce a new plan to tackle extremism that has a simple idea at its core: it’s time to move on from the neocons.

Related: A year on from the attacks in Paris, we need unity above all | Manuel Valls

Decent integration policy is a prerequisite. We need new ways of celebrating our country together

Continue reading...

As a Muslim, how do I tell my child the new president doesn’t like us? | Mehdi Hasan

The Guardian World news: Islam - 16 November, 2016 - 19:37
Donald Trump’s victory has led to a surge in anti-Muslim feeling in the US. Explain that to a nine-year-old

‘Did she win?” My bleary-eyed nine-year-old had fallen asleep on our couch the previous night, as the polls closed in Florida. When she sat across the breakfast table from me, I had to break the news that, while her own state of Virginia might have (narrowly) opted for Hillary Clinton, most of the other swing states – Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan – went with Donald Trump. “So we won’t have a female president?” she asked, looking disconsolate.

I couldn’t bring myself to tell her that she, we, minority communities across the board, had bigger problems to worry about. The normalisation of racism, of antisemitism, of misogyny, but, above all else – in terms of the impact on her own life and future – Islamophobia.

How do I tell her about the Ku Klux Klan, now recruiting new members “to fight the spread of Islam”?

Continue reading...

Jakarta's Christian governor to face blasphemy trial over Islam insult claim

The Guardian World news: Islam - 16 November, 2016 - 06:49

Case against Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama seen as test of Indonesia’s commitment to religious tolerance and pluralism

The Christian governor of Jakarta, the capital of the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, has been named a suspect in a case of alleged blasphemy, Indonesian police announced on Wednesday.

The case involving Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama has caused uproar across the country in recent weeks and is being seen by some as a test of Indonesia’s commitment to religious tolerance and pluralism.

Related: Indonesian president blames 'political actors' for stoking Jakarta blasphemy protests

Ahok @basuki_btp is a good man. If we are this ignorant may be we don’t deserve progress. May be we don’t deserve him #ImwithAhok #KamiAhok

Continue reading...

And Then I Cried – Election 2016 Reflections

altmuslim - 15 November, 2016 - 23:40
  By Sabeeha Rehman It was 5:00 a.m., and the Empire State Building was lit up in blue.  Blue! Could it really be? Miracles do happen. Four years ago, I had gone to bed well before the election results were called out. Early next morning, I looked out the window and saw the majestic Empire [Read More...]

Germany bans Islamic group DWR as police launch raids on 190 sites

The Guardian World news: Islam - 15 November, 2016 - 11:18

Mosques, offices and flats in 10 states searched as government accuses organisation of radicalising young people

German police have launched dawn raids on about 190 mosques, flats and offices linked to an Islamic group as the government bans the organisation, accusing it of radicalising young people.

The interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, said the DWR “True Religion” organisation had contacted young people as it distributed Qur’ans and other religious material, and had persuaded about 140 of them to join militants in Iraq and Syria.

Continue reading...


Subscribe to The Revival aggregator