Something insidious is happening in our cities that is restricting our freedom of mobility and choice of transport. And it's getting worse by the day. Aberdeen, Bath, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Dundee, London, Greater Manchester, Portsmouth, Sheffield, Tyneside, Newcastle, and Gateshead all have one thing in common. The elected local politicians who run these cities have vigorously embraced a new and fast-growing money tree.
An opportune, lucrative, and easy source of growing plunder to fill local authority coffers and their debt black holes. We have known for years that the environmental cultists have had it in for drivers. They would like to ban cars entirely but appear to have come to the correct conclusion that making diesel and petrol extinct is unreasonable to most people.
So - with little if any consultation - a wave of national and local political schemes to make driving more expensive and complicated are coming thick and fast right across the UK. Canterbury and Oxford are now subject to a new set of anti-car restrictions - the 15-minute zone.
And then there is of course, the much hated ULEZ - Ultra Low Emission Zone.
It's no coincidence the cities I have mentioned are mostly controlled by the impulsive green-loving SNP, Lib Dems and Let Wing Labour councillors. Political parties ignorant of - or too scared to challenge – reality that their anti-driver policies are hurting local economies, low-income families and small businesses. More councillors and city mayors are jumping on a fashionable bandwagon to fleece millions of pounds from the UK's cash cow - hard-pressed already highly taxed drivers.
For now, let’s focus on our capital city, but be in no doubt that what is happening in London is coming to a city near you.
Labour mayor Sadiq Khan is set to expand the already punitive ULEZ to the whole of Greater London even though over 66% of people opposed it. From the end of August, every borough within the M25 will be ULEZ area, which means the owners of older diesel and petrol cars will pay £12.50 every time they enter the zone.
The UK's most powerful local politician manipulates policy to suit his own personal agenda, which is not only contemptible but also possibly unlawful. He has deliberately demonised hundreds of thousands of well serviced vehicles, that have passed their MOTs. He has even changed specifications as to how emissions targets are met to catch even more drivers when he expanded ULEZ to the North and South Circular in 2019. What will stop him changing the goal posts in a year's time, if he needs more dosh?
That's how desperate he is to raise cash from the perennial easy target in his continuing anti-driver quest.
Ex-Mayor of London Boris Johnson described the expansion as an 'unfair tax grab'. He said: “It will hit hard-working families and businesses in outer London.
Boris is supporting Hillingdon – one of several boroughs to be affected that are threatening a boycott by refusing to put up the Chinese-made cameras that will nick motorists. These councils are looking at legal ways to overturn the ULEZ expansion. Thankfully four sensible Labour MPs have also come out against it.
Mayor Khan manipulated the public consultation to suit his own agenda
According to London Assembly's Tory members, Mayor Khan excluded the views of 5,000 FairFuelUK supporters who took part in a consultation about the ULEZ expansion. Their responses were deliberately ignored simply because they objected to his unproven expansion plans. Call that democracy?
These voters, taxpayers and free citizens took part in the Transport for London consultation process believing their comments would count. Mayor Khan canned them simply because they don't agree with his political agenda. That is why he must be subject to an urgent independent enquiry. Labour must suspend him from their party, too.
When FairFuelUK’s Howard Cox met with Sir Keir Starmer recently and asked him why he still supports such a dishonest politician. His response: “Howard, Labour is doing well in London.”
According to Transport for London's own data, the new enlarged ULEZ zone will be environmentally ineffective in making any difference to pollution levels.
Let's not beat about the bush. Khan's scheme is purely a devious cash grab hidden behind the virtual-signalling emotive cover of improving air quality.
When the ULEZ was expanded to the North and South Circular it generated an extra £94m for TfL in just one year. It is predicted the new expansion plans will generate £300million.
In a FairFuelUK opinion poll of 44,000 UK drivers carried out in December 2022, one in three sole traders and one in four visitors said they will never drive into London again.
The impact of high pump prices and Khan's vindictive policies taxes will mean many businesses will go to the wall.
The misguided belief that hitting the worse off in the pocket will save the planet, has to be challenged. If the internal combustion engine is so deadly to our health, why not ban them ALL from entering our cities?
The war on drivers around the UK shows conclusively it's the money that counts. The message is clear: “You are most welcome to bring in your diesel, provided you pay for the privilege with your hard-earned dosh.”
It is time for all city mayors and council leaders to rethink their road user strategies and incentivise drivers - not just use them as their ideological ATMs.
The good news to end on, 6 London Councils have just issued a Judicial Review against Khan's selfish ill-informed anti-driver plan, based on lack of consultation, an absence of any cost benefit analysis and breaking statutory requirements.
So, millions of drivers may just sleep much better believing London's ULEZ expansion plan may not happen. If that is the case, what will those elected urban lemmings decide to do with their copycat plans to fleece hard pressed high tax paying motorists in their Cities across the UK?