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Opinion : Why not cut the number of journeys as well as converting to electric vehicles?

| February 5, 2020

As the world turns its back on fossil fuels there seems to be a drive towards electric power to meet carbon emission goals.

Yesterday, it was reported on a national news site that the Government has announced that a ban on selling new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars in the UK will be brought forward from 2040 to 2035 at the latest.

The Government has already announced a ban on the installation of gas powered heating in new homes by 2025, however gas cooking hobs will be exempt.

It seems that coal usage is under review too. Since 1990 Britain’s reliance on coal for electricity has dropped from 70% to less than 3% today and yesterday, Tuesday 4th January 2020, the Government announced its intention to consult on bringing forward the deadline for removing coal power altogether by 2024.

It may be all well and good turning our backs on fossil fuels in the name of being ‘climate responsible’. However my good self thinks that perhaps more drastic social changes are needed.

In my opinion one of the fundamental problems with modern society is the number and length of journeys that are made every day. For example how many people travel to work every day by car, bus or train?

But it wasn’t always like this. Go back to the 1970’s and in High Wycombe most people worked locally in the many factories in the town. Our thriving furniture industry provided jobs for the masses that were within walking distance of the workers homes.

Sadly the factories have disappeared to be replaced by housing with no immediate jobs close by meaning the townspeople have to travel for work and this usually means using a motor car.

Just think how much pollution is created, and petrol wasted, as people travel miles everyday to their place of work in another town.

It’s all to easy just banning petrol cars to move everyone to electric vehicles, but would it not be better to create more ‘local jobs for local people’ so the masses could just walk to work?

Perhaps if people lived and worked locally they would have more pride in the town?

As for the move to electric powered vehicles, it’s only new vehicles that will be affected so all older fossil fuel powered vehicles of the time will still be on the road.

Actions to change to the distances people travel to work can be taken now. Surely the Government could issue tax breaks to companies who employ local people, who live within one mile of the workplace, to cut carbon emissions faster?

The introduction of electric vehicles does not worry me as in my view the golden age of the motor car design has passed, it was somewhere around 1969 to 1975 and after then it’s been downhill all the way.

Surely Government should be looking at plans to reduce, cut and eliminate the number and length of journeys rather than everyone just doing the same amount of travel using electric power instead?

If journeys were eliminated not only would it be greener, but by reducing the number of vehicles on the road the infernal traffic jams would be cut too.

What do you think?

*As an after thought to the main blog my good self was just wondering what future generations will make of the video clip (below) when, in 2035, the sale of new petrol powered cars are outlawed :

My blogs are published regularly here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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