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The Road To Ruin? A personal view from Ian Taylor

By 21st February 20224 Comments

As chairman of The Alliance of British Drivers there are several matters of concern to us and those who contact us right now:

· So-called smart motorways and how much danger they might pose. Do you feel the need for a hard shoulder “to cry on” should things go wrong?

· The Highway Code revisions that appear to have been written by and for the cycling activist lobby (we now know they largely were) with minimal consultation. Never mind that cyclists are a tiny minority of the travelling public, even after growth due to Covid, and many drive as well – cycling being for leisure. There is already evidence of organised cyclists taking full advantage to the detriment of traffic flow. The change has received woefully little detailed publicity and increases danger to all road users, drivers, cyclists and the oft-forgotten pedestrian – we are all pedestrians at some point. Why do the media insist on portraying us as like different tribes, exacerbating conflict and hindering cooperation?

· Led by London, but spreading through other cities like a disease, Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, Clean Air and Ultra Low Emission Zones and Congestion Zones – which do little or nothing to either improve air quality or help congestion (the two go together) indeed worsen by diverting traffic into pinch points. They do make life much more difficult and expensive foe anyone unfortunate enough to live or work in them.

· Meanwhile drivers pay the lion’s share through taxes, duties, all those zones, parking charges – only to get road space removed (in favour of others) and what’s left poorly maintained (think potholes). Hardly value for money.

· Last but not least the Green aims of Net Zero come with the ban on new petrol/diesel cars from 2030 and hybrids and even trucks (how will they replace them?) from 2035. Electric vehicles are still range limited and not as green as made out, especially when you consider their manufacturing process and their batteries. Their power has to be generated somewhere. These batteries, made using child labour for materials in the Third World that could become scarce and expensive, are proving to be prone to catching fire – electrical fire that’s difficult or impossible to put out. Just imagine that happening in a confined space – like the Channel Tunnel. Even if all that was overcome there’s still the question of the struggling National Grid being able to cope.

It simply isn’t necessary to ban the internal combustion engine (ICE). They’ve been getting “cleaner” for decades and would get more so if government action hadn’t killed off any incentive to continue the good work. We now also have fuel additives that render them “cleaner” still. I fear for the very future of our motor manufacturing industry. Electric cars are still much more expensive to buy. Cheaper to run, but that’s largely down to subsidies, exemption from VED and some local authority charges. That cannot last, because as ICE vehicles disappear, so will the fuel duty they generate – a “black hole” estimated at £35 million per annum. If we are to avoid road pricing (tolls by any other name – which the ABD continue to oppose) they are going to have to cough up some VED – maybe by separate metering for their charging (already being prepared for) – treating that power as “fuel”.

A Transport Minister recently said that the days of privately owned cars were over. We have warned for years that that was the ultimate end game of those who hate cars – “told you so”. That promise from the days of Eric Pickles to “end the war on the motorist” is ringing very hollow. Personal transport could be on the “endangered list”. When we have said this we are simply presented with the mantra that car use must be reduced to save the planet. They’ve got air travel firmly in their sights too – well, mass travel, not for the wealthy elite of course. Allied to this are a raft of other measures all in the name of preventing “climate catastrophe”. The phasing out of gas boilers for heating (and gas cooking) in favour of inefficient and expensive heat pumps, and all using more electricity we may not have. The price of energy (gas and electric) is going through the roof beyond the ability of many to pay. Their availability and affordability is in question. This and the ability to travel – are they not essentials for a successful modern civilisation?

In order to “fight back” the ABD has joined forces with three other like-minded organisations in an “umbrella campaign”. They are Howard Cox’s FairFuelUK, the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) and now joined by Lois Perry’s CAR26 group. This combined campaign – initially operating with the strap-line Voters For Motors – is now formally registered as a company, Transport Reality.

Why has this state of affairs come about? For decades there has been a (usually small) vocal lobby intent on bringing down Western capitalist civilisation on ideological and environmental grounds. They seem to be in charge now. How come?

Information received with the help of our friends at The Global Warming Policy Foundation/Net Zero Watch (via a Freedom of Information Request) reveals that Boris Johnson experienced a moment of revelation at a presentation by the Met Office. Maybe some family influence was exerted too? Without going off at too much of a tangent and in too much detail, he was presented with graphics of a model scenario known as RCP8.5 – an improbable worst case even according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He was not shown the more plausible “worst case” known as RCP4.5. let alone any “best cases”. In other words, he was shown altered/selected graphics which stoked unfounded alarmism. Was he misled?

I won’t digress further beyond saying that there is an uncanny similarity to some Covid statistical interpretation and graphics – also intended to stoke fear and panic.

If the green agendas are not reversed? Welcome to the Third World – and your new life as a high tech (power supply willing) serf.


  • david simmons says:

    Unfortunately the people that make the rules are not capable of thinking beyond the end of their noses. Years ago as a delivery lorry driver the London Congestion charge came in. I had to deliver to some local government offices in London and the staff used to laugh and tell me it would cost me more money to give to them now. I told them how did they work that one out as I would not be doing any more deliveries in London anymore. They were shocked and said ” what are we going to do ” I said that is your problem and not mine, you should have thought long and hard before opening your mouths. I was happy to relinqush all my lorry entitlements as who wants the hassle of being preyed upon by a host of quasi legal authorites who will give you extortionate fines for the slightest error and these days you can not even pick your nose in the cab without someone spying on you through a camera. The lack of lorry drivers is impacting on the efficiency and prosperity of the economy already.

  • Francis King says:

    “Never mind that cyclists are a tiny minority of the travelling public”

    And why is that, exactly? Could it have something to do with the way that motorists have largely grabbed the road network for their own use, picking speeds appropriate for cars but not for cyclists?

    “Why do the media insist on portraying us as like different tribes?”

    Why does ABD insist on portraying us as like different tribes?

    • John Little says:

      Exactly. Cycling is good for you and for tbe community as long as you can stay alive. Cycling isnt only done for leisure. Its also done for deliveries, and commuting. Cyclists are not the enemy they are just people getting by. The ABD likes to portray the tens of millions of drivers as a persecuted minority (while repeating dicredited tropes about climate and accident stats..Speaking as one of those pededtrians would like to see and breathe fewer inessential vehicles in our town centres. 97% of the where pollution levels are poor. Time to change the zeitgeist.

  • Al Watt says:
    This is a petition to deal (under a duty of care) with potholes!
    Please sign.

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