Emissions charge in London is a blunt instrument | Letters

Emissions charge in London is a blunt instrument | Letters
New pollution charges for motorists in London should not be based on a vehicle’s age, argues David Lawrence, while Judith Hanna thinks the Tories are playing politics with the issue

Your emissions zone article (Coming soon: the £24 charge for driving into central London, 5 January) correctly states that most pre-2006 cars will fall foul of Transport for London’s post-2021 ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) standard rules for driving within London’s north and south circular roads without charge. These new rules are grossly crude and inept if the aim is to reduce air pollution. Age of vehicle on its own is a very poor indicator of the pollution caused by a car.

Much more important is the mileage. We have a pre-2006 car, but travel fewer than 750 miles a year: we only use the car about once every three weeks for journeys especially requiring a car. Therefore TfL should use car mileage (easily obtained from MOT records) instead of age. A more valid decision model would also use the residence postcode of the vehicle to estimate difficulty of using public transport: we are lucky to live near an excellent transport hub, so it is easy for us to use the underground and buses as much as we do.
David Lawrence
London

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Source: Guardian Transport

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HS2 may run fewer, slower trains to stay on budget and schedule

HS2 may run fewer, slower trains to stay on budget and schedule

High-speed rail project’s CEO said that service could be reduced by four trains an hour

HS2 could be forced to run fewer trains at slower speeds in order to keep the high-speed rail project within budget, the company’s chief executive has said.

The government-backed infrastructure development has faced criticism for “misleading MPs” with price estimates that were hundreds of millions of pounds too low, following fears that costs were spiralling out of control.

Related: HS2 misled MPs about cost of high-speed rail project – whistleblower

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Source: Guardian Transport

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MoD sends planners to ministries over post-Brexit border fears

MoD sends planners to ministries over post-Brexit border fears

Military to assist government departments set to take brunt of no-deal chaos or backlog

Military planners have been deployed to the Department for Transport, the Home Office and the Foreign Office as officials desperately try to avoid backlogs and chaos at the border in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Observer can disclose.

Details released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that 14 military planners have been dispatched by the Ministry of Defence to key ministries, which also include the Cabinet Office, the hub of the government’s Brexit planning, in a sign of concerns inside Whitehall at the prospect of Britain crashing out of the EU with no agreement in place.

Related: Roy Hattersley backs second Brexit vote to ‘enfranchise the young’

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Source: Guardian Transport

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Drivers resist low-emission scheme as London struggles to clean up its air

Drivers resist low-emission scheme as London struggles to clean up its air

Aim to reclaim polluted streets from traffic has been met with ‘hate and anger’ from some

As the lights change, the thundering morning traffic comes to a stop at one of London’s busiest junctions. Hundreds of people on bikes seize their chance and stream across the seven-lane intersection before disappearing into the relative safety of the UK’s first ultra-low emission area.

The network of streets in east London has become a haven for cyclists and pedestrians since two local councils banned all petrol and diesel cars, vans and lorries during morning and evening rush hour.

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Source: Guardian Transport

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Train death: woman leaned out of window despite warning sticker – report

Train death: woman leaned out of window despite warning sticker – report

Bethan Roper, 28, from Wales, was hit by branch on way back from Christmas shopping trip

A woman suffered fatal head injuries while leaning out of a train window below a warning sticker, an accident report has found.

Bethan Roper, 28, died on the Great Western Railway train near Twerton in Bath on 1 December. Her head was out the window of a door when it was struck by a tree branch while the train was travelling at 85mph.

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Source: Guardian Transport

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Flying taxis: Uber partner reveals design

Flying taxis: Uber partner reveals design

Uber on track to deliver aerial rideshare network by 2023 as manufacturer Bell Helicopter unveils full-scale model in Las Vegas

Uber got a step closer to on-demand aerial taxis this week, as partner company Bell Helicopter unveiled a new flying car design in Las Vegas. The scale model of a hybrid-electric aircraft, called Nexus, is being exhibited at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in the city until 11 January.

Uber said the Nexus represents “a major step in its Elevate initiative to create an on-demand Uber Air network”, and shows it is “on track for delivering the world’s first aerial rideshare network in the coming years”.

Related: Flying cars: why haven’t they taken off yet?

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Source: Guardian Transport

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UK airports need to buy anti-drone technology, says defence secretary

UK airports need to buy anti-drone technology, says defence secretary

Gavin Williamson appears to contradict transport secretary who said tech not yet available

UK airports should buy anti-drone technology rather than “expect the Royal Air Force to constantly step in”, the defence secretary has said.

Gavin Williamson said that all airports should be investing in detection and deterrence systems after the recent closure of Gatwick and disruption at Heathrow owing to drones being flown close to the runway.

Related: Heathrow drone: police investigating whether it is linked to Gatwick chaos

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Source: Guardian Transport

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The misery, despair and pain of universal credit | Letters

The misery, despair and pain of universal credit | Letters
Readers offer their views on – and personal first-hand testimony of – the government’s troubled benefits system

Ray Taylor (Need to sign on? You’ll have to walk 24 miles to the jobcentre, 7 January) is just one of many victims of universal credit (UC). Recently there has been a lot of talk and discussion of the problems with the roll-out of UC. However, the basic problem is not about the way the roll-out has been mishandled but about the underlying values and the ethos shaping the design of UC.

As Professor Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, said in his November report on poverty in UK, “In the area of poverty-related policy, the evidence points to the conclusion that the driving force has not been economic but rather a commitment to achieving radical social re-engineering … to pursue a single-minded … focus on getting people into employment at all costs … and wanting to make clear that being on benefits should involve hardship”.

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Source: Guardian Transport

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Eurotunnel boss attacks UK over no-deal shipping contracts

Eurotunnel boss attacks UK over no-deal shipping contracts

Jacques Gounon, chief of rail operator’s parent company, says contracts may have been illegally awarded

The government has been accused of “anti-competitive” and “distortionary” behaviour by Eurotunnel after for awarding a series of no-deal contracts to shipping firms including a startup firm that has yet to run ferry services.

Jacques Gounon, the chief executive of Getlink, the cross-channel rail operator’s parent company, has told the UK transport secretary, Chris Grayling, the contracts may have been illegally awarded.

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Source: Guardian Transport

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Ofo cycle hire firm pulls out of London

Ofo cycle hire firm pulls out of London

At its peak the Chinese bike-sharing startup had 6,000 bikes in several English cities

The Chinese bike-sharing firm Ofo, known for its yellow bikes that users can leave in the street, is pulling out of London.

Alibaba-backed Ofo, which is reportedly teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, already withdrew from Norwich, Sheffield and Oxford last summer to focus on London, after facing problems with take-up and vandalism.

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Source: Guardian Transport

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