/ Money, Motoring

Your views on the new car tax rules

Car tax

We recently debated the changes to car tax, which come into force from April 2017. A number of you weren’t so keen on the changes…

Our resident cars expert Adrian Porter wrote in detail about the changes to Vehicle Excise Duty on 1 April.

He explained that after April 2017, all new cars will have two rates of car tax. The first year rate is based on the amount of CO2 a car emits. But from the second year, a standard rate kicks in – £140 per year, for every car, regardless of how much CO2 they emit (only zero-emission cars are exempt). Plus if the car costs over £40,000, you’ll pay an extra £310 per year for five years.

New car tax rules

Jean wasn’t impressed:

‘I am flabbergasted!! It couldn’t be more complicated if it tried!!!’

In response to the new rules, Ian argued that:

‘Zero or low car tax for low emission vehicles is a sign that the government cares about the quality of the environment and the health of those living in urban conurbations. This move shows the opposite.’

However, Steve disagreed. He felt that a flat rate of tax was fair:

‘All vehicles should be taxed the same amount no matter what size engine or type as they all use the same roads!’

A tax on fuel

Dermot0 argued that owners should be taxed according to their usage:

‘If car tax is really about providing a good quality road system rather than raising money for the government’s coffers, then owners should be taxed according to use. The reasonable way to do this is to do away with road tax altogether and put the tax on fuel – that way those who burn more fuel will pay more tax and those who use the roads the most will also pay more.’

In fact, it would seem that a fair few people backed this idea of only having a tax on fuel. Fairforall explained that there were problems with this:

‘I’d love the idea of having just the tax on fuel, where the more you use the more you pay… I’m really up for it. Not fair to those who are on low salary who have to do a lot of miles to their place of work. But I can’t help thinking the extra costs would affect the goods you buy where the goods transportation costs would rise, giving excuse for all goods and food to be price hiked. But, on the other hand, would the distribution companies offset to this by not paying the VED? Or could they get special less fuel tax as a distribution business.’

What do you think about the changes to Vehicle Excise Duty? Do you think they’re fair?

Comments

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Duncan, you should not need to wait an hour for the bus. You should know the times when it runs and turn up at the bus stop at one of those times. Likewise, if all your local shops are closing, have you considered forming a village co-operative to run the shop yourselves? I can point out one such shop and I bet there are others.

One of the beauties of Google Maps is that you can click on a bus stop and see when the next service is due. Traveline is a good alternative where you can access and print-off full timetables and get route maps.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

P>A>R/ says:
14 May 2016

I live in a village also and have to drive 3 miles to get a pint of milk and buses do NOT run when they should. { am thinking of moving house things are so hard and I cannot believe what Peter Jarvis said think about forming a village co operative Is he for real People never agree on anything like that has he tried it I wonder , Re J Ward it is ok if you have a bus stop near but if you have to walk two miles and then there is not a proper stop and no where to stand to even try to get on a bus if there was one

As far as car Tax The big 4 x 4 should pay the most they absolutely wreck our country lanes as I live in North Cornwall they have NO respect for the locals. A lot of these people who run these 4x 4 do not need them it is just a show . I run Hybrid car myself so think I am doing my bit

While I agree with much of the sentiment expressed I think that you are a little off the mark concerning car tax. You say that you run a small ‘boy racer’ Ford which is placed in the top car tax bracket by Government.

A car’s performance potential and ‘image’ has, as far as I am aware, no bearing on taxation (it does with insurance though). I am 67, own a 2014 Ford Fiesta ST 3 with the Mountune 215PS performance pack and pay £120 tax and £245 per annum fully comprehensive insurance premium which seems very reasonable!

This comment was removed at the request of the user

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Hello P>A>R/ – We live in Norfolk so are well aware of the public transport difficulties in rural areas and with connecting the villages to the market towns. For most households a car is essential. Luckily our county council does, despite government cutbacks, provide a reasonable public transport infrastructure with proper bus stops, timetables and coordination of services. The local bus operators will also usually set down and pick up on request at places on the route that are not officially designated.

It is frequently overlooked that people do not necessarily have the option of living somewhere else for a whole range of reasons usually connected with their work or family circumstances. Because rural house prices are depressed [in some measure due to the drawbacks of living in the country] there isn’t always the freedom to move that town dwellers might have and large numbers of families live in tenanted or tied accommodation at much lower rent levels than prevail in built-up areas.

Even running a car just for essential journeys can have a major impact on household budgets, due to the longer distances to shops and services and the poor state of rural roads. Strangely the big 4WD’s and SUV’s are more likely to be found on the housing estates than alongside the rural dwellings, but, as you say, they are still seen roaring around the country lanes making their condition worse by scouring the verges and any surface depressions.

Sue Moore says:
15 May 2016

I don’t think Duncan meant he waits an hour for the bus, I think he meant the bus is hourly so you might have to wait for up to an hour if you just missed one (which can happen for all sorts of reasons beyond one’s control). I hope your comment was tongue-in-cheek.

@user-66219 there’s nothing wrong with the £130 car tax for the Fiesta ST3. Its CO2 emissions are 138 g/km so it falls within the £130-a-year tax band. Although it’s fast, it’s also small, light and economical, hence the low emissions. You can find the tax bands on the Government website. Note that they are based on CO2 emissions. The MOT test measures CO, or carbon monoxide emissions, not carbon dioxide, so your MOT test results are irrelevant to your tax.

That’s right. Testing the carbon monoxide emission checks that the catalytic converter is working. The tax bands are based on the carbon dioxide emission of that model of car and have nothing to do with its condition.

Why are you driving to your shop? You must be on-line or you couldn’t have commented. Get what you need delivered as that is far more environmental and time friendly for yourself.

Your last comment: – I agree that some 4x4s are unnecessary and in urban areas can just become armoured children carriers to the local private school. I have a 4×4 mini – it does the job better than the monsters that hang over our pavements

I only wish we could have a bus per hour. Here we have 3 buses per week (Tue, Wed, Thu) each doing a return trip to one or other of the two nearest towns. My bus pass is little used.

Compared to say £14,000 for a new car or £50 for a tank of fuel, £140/year (or £2.80/week) is peanuts.

Hence, I think it makes far more sense to abolish VED for cars (and motorcycles) and put any ownership taxes on either the initial price or the fuel.

The original idea of different Tax bands was to encourage greener motoring. This does the opposite. Although a fairly typical response from this government it does firmly nail any thought that the Treasury is in any way concerned about the health of its citizens.

Presumably DVLA needs funding to look after car registrations etc. so I can see sense in having VED, and probably a single rate (as we used to when I started driving).

How to charge for pollution – more polluting cars should pay more? Well, they do in what I think is an equitable way. In my view the more pollution you produce the more you should pay in tax. If you have a larger-engined more polluting vehicle, and/or if you drive more miles, then you will use more fuel and hence pay more tax. And if you find diesel is really worse than petrol then you can alter the fuel duty.

The polluter pays.

However one fundamental question to my mind is why should we allow people to pay to pollute more where pollution is really dangerous; those to whom money is less relevant than others can poison the atmosphere even more. Money should not be the only criterion. Too much traffic in confined areas causes the real pollution problem, both because of the number of vehicles emitting fumes, and because of the jams and stop-start congestion that just makes pollution even worse. Control this and you’ll make a real difference, a difference that simply paying to pollute cannot.

Scrap Car Tax and put a few pence on the price of fuel , the more you drive , the more you pay , and of course no one could cheat and not pay !!! How about also spending more of the Car Tax on the maintenance of our roads ? , the condition of some roads is shocking !!!!!!

Jim, of all the replies yours offers simple common sense [probabley a bit to sensible and simple for any treasury official to take in], Why complicate all these tax rules, once again make it simple for everyone.

To some extent I agree…but I fear the Petrol/diesel retailers would take exception to the idea as they would be doing the taxmans job for him.
To my way of thinking, it is simply common sense.You do more miles, you pay more tax ! But the chancellor would need to re-emburse the retailers for what is fundamently his job as tax collector.

The retailers are already collecting VAT and fuel duty …

And doing the job for them!

Since this all about the burning of fossil fuels…put it on the price of fuel, its an easy to administer regulator, not rocket science ! , concessions can be made for types of industries.

The Minister ‘In Charge’ of motoring matters, confuses action with progress.
The recent change to the tax disc was hugely regressive, making it very difficult to change vehicles without breaking the law. The only slight benefit being to the Government, who were enabled to charge twice for the month of changeover.

This latest, is even more ill advised. It again fails to link taxation to amount of pollution, which is a function of the vehicles MPG consumption and of the amount the vehicle is used.
As a result, it offers less incentive for owners to switch to more economical models than previously.

Furthermore, a much proposed solution to both these problems has again been ignored. To scrap the tax disc, and transfer equivalent value duty onto the fuel itself. This is now entirely feasible, as car numberplate recognition cameras and databases make it unnecessary to display a disc to confirm tax status
This would also remove at a stroke, the time and taxpayer cost wasting activity of tax disc issue.

“The recent change to the tax disc was hugely regressive, making it very difficult to change vehicles without breaking the law. ”

I have found it much much easier to arrange car tax when changing vehicles with the new system. Since the system went online, I replaced my own car, and bought one for my wife.

The partial refund of car tax from my sale was credited to my account automatically, no messing about sending off a tax disc or going into a post office.

When buying both cars, I was able to tax them in a couple of minutes online, as soon as I’d bought the cars and before I drove away. Easy peesy as long as the car has a valid MOT certificate.

What exactly is your excuse for breaking the law?

@fj it’s fortunate that you were able to tax your cars in a couple of minutes as soon as you bought them, but how would you have done it if you hadn’t taken a laptop with you to the seller’s house and if you didn’t have 3G reception?

Interesting reading from all comments, but the bottom line is I have no doubts the treasury morons that have come up with all these new car taxing formulas will not be affected one iota by any changes because they will no doubt be driving around in their government sponsered cars, so the case will be ‘don’t do as I do do as I say’.

I don’t agree with zero-emission cars not paying car tax. They wear out roads the same as other cars so should pay something toward their upkeep.

I think there should be a basic rate car tax for all cars that could be based on engine size, then a gradient tax for the amount of CO2 they emit.

It would encourage ownership of lower emission cars. It might also encourage better maintainance of vehicles if they are emitting more than they should be.

There are several public service purposes arising from the vehicle registration system that go far and beyond the keeping of a list of owners’ names and addresses. The investigation of collisions and incidents, the detection of criminal activity, the identification of road traffic offenders, the enforcement of penalties, the safety and testing of vehicles, the forecasting of traffic volumes, and numerous statistical exercises and data resources. These need to be funded on behalf of every vehicle on the road so there is a strong case for a registration charge [or excise duty if that is what politicians want to call it so that it can be treated as a tax and governed by the Treasury]. Beyond that, pollution and environmental damage, wear and tear on the roads [highway maintenance], police enforcement, and emergency service response to incidents, are largely a product of distance travelled, or engine performance, or both. A vast amount of this funding comes in through VAT on just about everything a vehicle-owner pays for in order to run their car or van or truck, and most of these are proportionate to mileage and use – fuel, lubricants, tyres, and servicing. The only thing that seems to escape this volumetric net is insurance which has its own tax any way. I think it should be possible to reconstruct the entire vehicle charging regime in a more equitable way and include clearer incentives for those vehicles which have the least adverse impact on the environment or the highways infrastructure, as well as serious disincentives for those that cause the most harm. Pay-as-you-go motoring would have a logic about it that would give owners more choices at every stage. The grading of environmental performance of different types of vehicles and recouping graduated revenue would probably still have to be incorporated in the annual registration charge since there are cars with bad engines that are economical on fuel.

John Ward makes a thoughtful and detailed contribution to the issues,services and consequent costs which the ‘Excise Duty’ is theoretically covering, though these costs are not in fact paid for from hypothecated tax disc revenues. However, most though all of these environmental and infrastructural degradations and costs are proportionate to Mileage, weight and performance of the vehicles involved, so the simple solution of an increase in fuel duty to cover these costs , solves most of the problems fairly, whilst saving a lot of money. The differing pollution of engines with similar consumption is negligible, except for the significant differences between Petrol and Diesel fuelling, which can be dealt with mechanism of different Duty for each fuel type, which is already in use.
Lastly, I doubt if the admin. functions of recording Crime, Accidents etc , are carried out by a department responsible for collecting Tax Disc revenue, in which case they are not germane to John’s arguments, as they would continue as now.
If they are however, adding them to the DVLA’s remit would be a more natural home for them anyway.

Smike

I think there remains a case for a vehicle registration charge to cover the costs of the process and the various derivatives from the sytem that I outlined above. Some cars cover little mileage but still have to be registered. I do not think the full burden of the government’s costs for enabling and dealing with road travel should fall on road users. The whole of society benefits from safe and efficient transport systems, and public transport is not, and could never be, a suitable alternative, so it is right that general taxation and government revenues are used to support road transport. I do not support hypothecated taxes as they become inadequate or too inflexible as the old ‘road fund tax’ demonstrated. Unfortunately road fuel duty has become a political football ever since a previous government came up with the ‘escalator’ policy to hike it up every year over and above inflation. Although that has ceased it hasn’t been abandoned.

Given the atrocious state of Britains road infrastructure I presume it would be too much to expect the additional revenue to put this right first rather than fund the MP expense account fund!

We run diesel railway engines whose pollution effect we do not know. Nor is there any incentive to find out, because railway engines do not pay diesel fuel tax.

orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/15157/diesel-engine-exhaust-emissions-guidance.pdf

Is recent and covers the subject referring to relevant other regulation so quite useful. It does not provide any figures but in a sense given the infrequency of them and the generally large numbers carried one might argue that they help remove cars/buses of the roads which are generally much nearer to pedestrians and houses.

Whilst there is EU legislation reducing their effects one might be curious if there is research on using hydrogen injecton or SCR …. perhaps there is.

It is generally asserted that rail travel is environmentally the least harmful form of transport [I think it was the boss of Eurostar who proclaimed it first]. In the UK there is a mix of diesel and electric power with electric lines progressively overtaking non-electrified lines in mileage due to the current huge electrification programme. In terms of passenger numbers and freight tonnage electric trains predominate. Most major passenger traffic flows [including a high percentage of commuter services] are electrically powered now and a growing proportion of freight is electrically hauled. Remote rural services are [and will remain] predominantly diesel-powered. Many of the new long-distance pasenger trains will be bi-mode, meaning they will be able to draw power from the wires where it is available but run on their own diesel engines from where the electrification stops.

We need to bear in mind that electricity has been generated in some pretty dirty power stations until recent years and there are still some coal-fired stations in service, however, with modern flue-gas desulphurisation technology, coal-fired power stations are much less harmful than the equivalent output from diesel engines.

I expect the Office of Rail & Road has statistics on the emission levels for different types of traction – I don’t think it is a secret because future planning and business cases depend on such data.

The ORR does cover all the variables that apply to diesel engines which would make getting “true” figures an absolute nightmare and tell us pretty much what we all know anyway.

To brighten the day some interesting research news I saw this week:
For greener cars this is an interesting insight which may be of relevance to the UK – but certainly to Europe
http://techxplore.com/news/2016-05-electric-vehicle.html

However technology changing so fast … this is a major advance but as always is it commercially practicable. I hope so.
http://phys.org/news/2016-05-advance-groundbreaking-water-in-salt-lithium-ion.html

All forms of transport create pollution, albeit in different ways. In general, public transport is a better option but the best solution is to cut down the amount of travelling we do. Before trains and cars we lived near where we worked and perhaps our ‘civilised’ society could manage to achieve this again.

My father walked the 2 miles to his work – and came home for lunch!

We have, ever since the railways been persuaded to travel some distance to work (Metroland?). Public transport did a good job then. But when we got independent transport – cars – many abandoned the trains (some aided by Dr B) but didn’t stop commuting. Just clogged up the roads, chucked out CO2 and NOx, particulates, on ever longer journeys (in time and distance) because of housing costs and the wish to live in nice areas.

It is nonsense really, isn’t it – wasting time and money in polluting your way to work? The logical answer is to live near work. That means bringing work nearer to where people live. How soon before we use this to help solve the housing shortage, silly house prices and pollution? It cannot be done by 5 year governments so unless they make me a dictator, it will need an all party commitment to start the change and to carry on with it.

Then small engined cars and electric cars make a lot more sense.

It’s not going to happen without legislation, Malcolm. In the meantime, I think we need to promote cycling, but pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicles have to be kept separate for their respective safety. I would rather see money spent on this than on HS2 and other schemes that have limited public support and do little for the environment.

Many of the cars in use are provided by employers. It is obvious that vans are necessary for many jobs but perhaps it is time to look at whether it is necessary to provide employees with cars. Where I worked, no-one was provided with cars, business of use of our own cars was discouraged, and where journeys were essential, cars could be hired. Cycling was encouraged (secure parking and a subsidised scheme for purchase) and a parking space cost £150 a year, back in 2011 when I retired. Video conferencing facilities were readily available and I believe they are now in all departments, making it easy to have meetings without the need to travel.

All-party support is certainly needed to deal with the problems caused by our present use of motor vehicles. I wish the manufacturers would focus on city cars with a top speed of no more than 40 mph, rather than trying to emulate the performance of petrol and diesel vehicles. It would allow the use of a smaller battery or significantly extend the range.

I don’t think 40mph cars would ever work. You’d only be limited to 40 mph roads, and if you do need to travel further afield, your car would not be suitable for country roads or motorway. In fact, just take a wrong turn onto a faster-than-40 mph road, and you’d turn yourself into a hazard. If people behind you get impatient and start using their horn, it would become an even more stressful experience. Could be dangerous too if people try and overtake – of course you take your own risks when overtaking, but this certainly encourages it, which I see as a bad thing.

I would say that if you don’t need to leave a city, then public transport should serve your needs. If you need a car to lug things round, could you not just buy an electric car and only drive on roads up to 40mph? Though the car isn’t tailored for it, it would still lengthen battery life, would it not?

There is lots of interesting research going on, trying to make it easier to drive long distances on electricity only. I’ve seen some ideas around turning roads into solar panel powered electric highways – charging off solar power and then transmitting that power to electric cars that drive on it. But not entirely sure how well this would really work in practice, or if it’s even safe – let alone the gargantuan amount of money it would take to replace just key major roads around the UK.

Or perhaps in a few years, we’ll all be zipping about in Elon Musk’s hyperloops…

I would have thought eventually a car for battery operation in town, where 30mph is the limit – would provide a pollution=free solution (apart from the power station of course!) with a small supercharged petrol engine to both recharge the batteries and provide faster transport out of town. We cannot all afford two cars – one for town, one for country – and public transport is currently both expensive and inconvenient, especially for families.

However, concentrating longer term on good cheap public transport in town, and limiting access to low-polluting vehicles at peak times, would be a step forward. When 400 schools in London (if I remember the figures correctly) have air quality below the EU limits – not to speak of all those residents and road users – we cannot just let mobile polluters the freedom to continue poisoning the air. Restriction is needed. Common sense says that, surely?

Actually, I’ve been looking at plug-in hybrids for exactly that reason. Plug-in hybrids (as opposed to ones that only charge the battery from the engine) have a much greater battery-only roaming capability.

The Golf GTE is a plug-in hybrid that I’ve driven – it claims an electric only range of 31 miles. Even if it only got half that amount, I could go from where I live to the nearest city (Brighton) and back on electric, using the 30mph coastal road. There are charging points in Brighton if need be. Then going further afield would rely on the petrol engine and battery working together.

As plug-in hybrid technology improves, these distances will only (hopefully) get longer. Of course the barrier is the price you pay, typically hybrids are a bit more expensive than an equivalent combustion-only car. I can only hope these prices reduce too.

Malcolm, don’t forget the percentage of people who already work from home, 13.9% in 2014. according to The Office for National Statistics (ONS), amounting to approximately 4.2m, an increase of 1.34m since 1998 and more prevalent in older workers and people living in the South West.

There is currently extensive electrification work being carried out on the railways which should help to reduce some of the pollution in the future and with HS2 and 3 plans set to continue, hopefully culminating in a cleaner and more efficient rail system, encouraging and enabling more business to move nearer to their employees homes.

The focus now should be directed towards electric vehicles and cars to reduce pollution on the roads. Obviously all this will take time and extensive funding and much depends upon the votes of the British electorate next month as to the duration and affordability of these proposals.

Beryl, your last paragraph is very pertinent. All this commuting costs money. Could it be better spent elsewhere? Who, in the general population, needs a high speed line to Birmingham with no stops when a lower speed line would be cheaper, less disruptive? And why do we need encourage the well-heeled commuters by transporting them all over the country? Does it not make more sense to spread – relocate – business and services around the country where we might both reduce commuting and generate a real “nothern powerhouse” based on local endeavour, not travel?

When I was based in Cheshire, I was once lucky enough to travel back from London to Crewe on a Virgin Pendolino. I think it may have only stopped once before Crewe (at Birmingham New St?) but, compared to more ordinary trains, it went like the clappers. After a long and busy day working in London, I really did appreciate the high speed trip home.

Malcolm, any measure that will assist In reducing pollution has to take priority over everything else, everyone’s future depends upon it. HS2 is not just scheduled to terminate in Birmingahm but to provide fast and efficient links for freight as well as commuters to the northern powerhouse. It will reduce the pollution in the air created by domestic flights, introducing more competitive fares for business executives (or as your prefer to call them “the well heeled” who frequently have to travel from The City to their factories and workshops in the north.

There are many arguments against HS2, many of them understandably from the people (many of them come into your “well heeled” category) who currently reside on the proposed HS2 route, but if efficiency and speed are the components to expedite future economic success, then compromises will have to be made.

If you haven’t already done so I suggest you read up on the Governments justification for proceeding with HS2 @. . http://www.gov.uk. – The Economic Case for HS2.

The Government redacted many parts of a report that included criticism of the “business case” for HS2. So how can we have any confidence in what is essentially propaganda – a contrived business justification? And when I last looked there were no plans to include freight on HS2 (but it “might be considered in the future”). It is step changes in transport that usually bring benefits, like moving from canal to railway speed and we have 125 mph travel that is widespread.

The quest for ever-greater speed is really not very helpful, particularly when you look at how long it takes for a passenger (customer) to get to their final destination – travel from home to commuter station, wait for train to London, wait for HS2, train, additional travel from Birmingham . HS2 can be a fairly small component in this travel chain.

I support rail for passenger and freight and we need greater capacity. I do not think vanity projects like HS2 are a good way of spending limited funds when conventional rail could benefit far more people. Particularly when it is likely to make substantial losses; I’m not keen on subsidising commuters and professionals and those who might be able to use electronic meetings to equal effect.

Freight locomotives and wagons are probably not designed to travel at high speeds so would not be welcome on HS2 as they would block the paths of passenger trains. Where HS2 will help with enabling more freight to go on rail is by releasing capacity on the existing main lines.

I agree. A good case for HS2 can’t be made – yet, but the benefits of introducing faster and more reliable transport systems have always eventually had enormous benefits. We badly need more rail track, much of it having been dumped by the 1963 Beeching / Marples event . And there’s a lesson, there: Beeching identified thousands of miles and stations making a loss, but Marples – a construction entrepreneur – decided they should all go in favour of road travel – because he built roads. Now, we’re desperate to get it all back and the HS2 initiative would go a long way to accomplishing that.

It will take so long to complete HS2 [2033 +?] that, in view of continuously rising demand, the extra capacity provided might only return us to where we are today.

As I understand it, no one will be forced to get off at Birmingham.

Much freight travels at night, and could easily do so on HS2 – I doubt many passengers will use it out of hours. Any new railway line will release capacity on others. The more the better. But there is no reason for it to be as fast as HS2.

In big countries, with long distances between cities, it makes sense. But even then – Japan for example – their are three levels of train using the line. stopping, intermediate and fast. And the UK does not have these long distances.

Dr B is much maligned, and sometimes rightly. But he did see that the branch line network – a huge inefficient part of the system which was over-developed when no other form of transport existed – was outdated and its role long overtaken by road transport. I don’t see us returning to that.

I do agree that a trunk network of passenger and freight (the latter with properly organised transfer terminals onto local road transport) would reduce congestion, pollution and should reduce costs. But it needs a national plan and who do we have who can do that apolitically?

The problem with passenger rail for many is getting from your final rail station to your actual destination – a door to door service. So even more coordination with better road public transport. And the cost when you are not travelling alone – a full car costs no more than the driver alone; a major cost on the train. We’d need to make the cost attractive to both individuals and families not on expense accounts or paid for by the state.

To clarify the HS2 freight situation, according to a report by Transport Minister, Patrick McLoughlin, HS2 will provide space for at least an extra 20 main line freight paths, with each extra freight train typically taking 40 lorries off our roads; easing congestion and reducing carbon emissions.

Confirmation if required an be found @
http://www.gov.uk – The Strategic Case for HS2

Apologies for not reporting back sooner, but I lost my internet connection this morning and with much confused instruction over the ‘ phone from my technophile son I am now well and truly back!

“….there are no train paths available for freight during normal operational hours, the remainder of time is required for essential maintenance and HS2 documentation clearly state there will be no conventional freight on the proposed network although they didn’t rule out the possibility of using high speed trains for the post.”

Read more: tamworthherald.co.uk/Yards-HS2-freight/story-25791344-detail/story.html#ixzz48dVHesYK
Follow us: @tamworthherald on Twitter | tamworth.herald on Facebook

HS2 may, if you can believe a case that has been severely criticised, by taking passenger slots relieve capacity for freight – on other lines, but not seemingly allowing freight to use HS2 out of hours. A conventional additional railway would do the same, not require the same level of maintenance and not only free up existing lines for more freight but carry freight overnight itself. More effective at relieving the roads in my view.

I agree with you Malcolm – the higher the speed, the heavier the engineering required and the greater the public opposition. Interestingly, the first high speed railway line, HS1, between London and the Chanel Tunnel has virtually disappeared into the rural background of Kent yet the parallel M2 motorway remains a blot on the landscape.

HS2 is for the benefit of London not for the nation. Given the costs read through this and consider whether the country as a whole would be better off investing in power from our tidal resources which is a substantially cheaper option and would save enormous amounts of pollution.

Last month was the fifth straight month with highest global temperatures so fannying around even longer seems obscene.

” June 2013 saw the projected cost rise by £10bn to £42.6bn[11] and, less than a week later, it was revealed that the DfT had been using an outdated model to estimate the productivity increases associated with the railway, which meant the project’s economic benefits were overstated.[12] Peter Mandelson, a key advocate of HS2 when the Labour Party was in government, declared shortly thereafter that HS2 would be an “expensive mistake”,[13] and also admitted that the inception of HS2 was “politically driven” to “paint an upbeat view of the future” following the financial crash of 2008. He further admitted that the original cost estimates were “almost entirely speculative” and that “[p]erhaps the most glaring gap in the analysis presented to us at the time were the alternative ways of spending £30bn.”[14] The then mayor of London, Boris Johnson, similarly warned that the costs of the scheme would be in excess of £70 billion.[15] The Institute of Economic Affairs estimates that the final cost will be over £80 billion.[16]”

An early argument to show how long this has been labouring along and some of the beneefits – for a summary see the Wikipedia
foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/severn_barrage_lagoons.pdf
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Severn_Barrage

Isn’t everything for the benefit of London? But the HS2 option will almost certainly provide benefits that are currently not discernible. And tidal power is not necessarily a cheaper option. Because of the vast engineering works required, the untested long-term technological requirements, the extra and highly expensive infrastructure and the numerous discoverable costs I doubt there’ll be much difference in overall costs.

But there’s another aspect: the use of HS2 will render almost all short haul Manchester / London flights redundant. And that will curb pollution levels drastically. Extend the line to Leeds and short haul air travel will be slashed. We always use HS1 when we visit the continent – and it beats flying hands down, in our opinion.

Ian – A bundle of wishful thoughts methinks.

– HS2 will reveal benefits unthought of
– reduction in flights
– tidal is not necessarily cheaper

Obviously as these are future possibilities I cannot prove anything one way or the other. Generally in recorded transport history you improve a connection in drags in more traffic so that the number using it takes up the new capacity.

I may be cynical but I imagine the number of BBC staff, “celebrities” and politicians travelling back to London from Manchester has already taken up whatever capacity HS2 would bring to the party.

Your comment on cheapness of tidal seems to suggest you have not read the Wikipedia article as compared to HS2 it is a mere pittance but does engage many many people in work and reduces our energy dependence. It also means that if we have a vast amount of relatively cheap electricity then a concerted drive on electric transportation could improve air quality within our cities and of course lower the UK’s total pollution output.

The fact that the lagoons will have peaks and troughs in production could be used beneficially for free charging of vehicles on meters linked to the tides or periods when the sun or wind meant renewables were producing substantially over base load. This would solve a “current” problem for the Grid of not having a steady state and having to shed load to the detriment of costs and maintenance concerns for fossil fuel powered stations.

Obviously I appreciate some regular travellers to London may feel hard done by but in a national context getting to London faster is not actually that important.

Bill says:
13 May 2016

There is nothing I like about the DVLA. In addition to selling our private data to every profit driven parking company and making a complete joke of the Data Protection Act, they have made car tax and the transfer of vehicles increasingly complex and unfair.

I realise that the DVLA is just another Government job creation scheme, but car tax should be abolished and replaced by a small increase in the price of fuel. The original purpose of this clumsy tax was to pay for road maintenance, not some pretend environmental concern, with the money being used for all manner of other things. Surely it is logical to base this tax on actual road usage?

BarbaraD says:
14 May 2016

Just a minor point about WED. If my husband was not so disabled we could have run a much smaller car. However we NEED a large car to transport his mobility equipment and, because of his age being well over 65, get no allowance on our VED so have to pay top rate.

It seems to be nothing more than a blatant cash grab, and don’t be taken in by the “vehicles use the road equally and should therefore pay equally” argument. If this were the case then why the higher rate for expensive cars? If that argument isn’t convincing then how about this… Successive Governments have always maintained that revenue from various sources is not “hypothecated” to a specific purpose, in short this hike in motoring costs will not be committed to improving the roads.

If you want to avoid VED then sell the car and get a bike. The VAT on your purchase will not be targeted at improving the roads.

Charles March says:
14 May 2016

Let’s get this straight – THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A ZERO EMISSION CAR! For each kWh it takes to recharge a battery vehicle the power stations emit 0.43kg* of CO2. This extra CO2 wouldn’t be emitted if there wasn’t a car to charge!
(*The figure of 0.43kg CO2 is averaged across all types of power generation – including wind and solar).
However, the CO2 produced to charge a car is, on average, around half what it would be if the car was petrol driven. But that doesn’t excuse the BIG LIE put out by the battery car industry!

I would like to see an end to the misrepresentation about electric cars being zero emission. However electric vehicles have a place in city centres where nitrogen oxide levels can be well above permissible levels.

The effect of carbon dioxide is still uncertain, though there is no doubt that using petrol and diesel is depleting our reserves of fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide emission is related to fuel use, so if you want to tax according to emission then it can be done via the duty on fuel.

If we are serious about concerns over pollution we should seek to limit it. Taxation is a powerful tool in this respect. the new rules make a nonsense of this. Cars with low (CO2 and NO) emissions should be zero/lightly taxed, whereas higher emission vehicles should pay higher rates. To be fair this should be on sliding scale, so the polluter pays, and for high/excessive pollution levels this should be punitive. This will act as an incentive for the purchase of vehicles with low(er) emissions and we will all benefit.

Adrian Collett says:
14 May 2016

I have tried to read this article, but part of the text was obscured by a Which? poll on use of smartphones in cars. No matter what I tried I couldn’t move it or get rid of it so I clicked on one of the options (don’t know which one) thinking that might clear it, but I then got a score sheet showing how others had voted and I still couldn’t read the text. If others have done the same, the worth of this poll is very low, but more importantly, surely Which? can do better than this. All I want to do as a long-term member is to read the article, and I still can’t!

I believe some devices do not handle the Conversation format as well as others. I have ‘reported’ your comment so that the editorial team will pick it up and hopefully resolve the problem for you.

My lap top also has the “vote” panel permanently obscuring text.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Hi Adrian – We have a Conversation for sorting out technical issues: https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/welcome-to-the-new-which-conversation/ If switching browser does not work you could send in a screen capture by email to: conversation.comments@which.co.uk and the technical gurus may be able to help.

I get text on text if I hold my phone sideways but it’s fine vertical and on the computer the site is very well behaved.

Neville Leinster says:
14 May 2016

I did the same as Adrian (I’m still using IE). Web-page designer boo-boo; shouldn’t have happened at all.

@patrick. Google Chrome. 🙂