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Chelsea Tractors

14 Nov

It’s tricky not having a car. Obviously you can manage although it might take you a lot longer to get where you want to go. If you like walking, cycling, buses, trains and planes – carry on. Enjoy. I vary the transport I use depending on cost, time and what I prefer to do. I use the train mostly for London as it takes about the same journey time and it’s a lot less hassle by train.  If I go up town I walk or use the bus or drive. I used to use a wee scooter for whizzing about Edinburgh. It cost me nothing to run it for a year or so and the parking was free.

How you travel is a personal thing. It’s really up to you. However, there are a section of people on our society who fell they know better than you what mode of transport you should be using. It’s all about congestion and carbon dioxide.

I saw a bas yesterday and someone had felt it important to highlight the fact that the bus is carbon neutral in big letters along the side of it. Really? Of course not. The likelihood is that they planted some trees, which will sequester carbon dioxide over a long number of years and they’ve offset this against the CO2 in it’s exhaust. They might claim that all the passengers they attract save carbon because they use this bus. There’s only one word to describe this. Guff. Not to mention the fact that no one has actually proven, in a real world setting, that CO2 does what it says on the Greenies tin.

Anyway, as I said some people are keen to point out the error of other peoples ways as far as the kind of car they drive. Chief irritants and targets are 4x4s describe endearingly as “Chelsea tractors”. Greenies can demonstrate their indignation and abhorrence with glee. They can look down from their pedestals and sneer whilst basking in the glow of their selfrighteousness. Of course with all things green it’s not as simple as that.

You see there are good reasons to drive the form of transport you prefer. A 4×4 provides a great view of the traffic and, if you have children, they make life much easier. They have loads of room in them. They aren’t great in an accident though. They produce more CO2. Perhaps.

Let’s consider three 4x4s, which are fairly popular. The BMW X5 3.0 Diesel produces 233 g/KM CO2 the Landrover Discovery 2.8 Diesel 244 g/KM and the Volvo XC90 219 G/KM. These are all heading towards the higher side of the scale. The government makes them pay more for road tax and some councils charge them more to park.

Let’s also consider some cars. The sporty BMW M3 290 g/KM, the Mercedes S500 limo 219 g/KM and Audi A3 4 wheel drive 3.2 214 g/KM. Greenies would walk past all of these and never consider for a moment that the carbon footprint of these cars is so high. If greenies have a car at all they tend to be old. Older cars produce far more CO2 and other horrible things too.

Last year we had one of those fabulous moments. Hypocritical behaviour was gloriously demonstrated by Edinburgh Council, who had been intending to charge 4×4 drivers extra for parking permits, The onset of the bad snow drove (great pun!) the Council to ask for 4×4 drivers to come forward and help move mail and stuff between the various Council offices.

Bottom line. People should drive what they want to drive. People who don’t like cars or are convinced that the planet will shortly crisp up and melt? Simple, they should do what’s right for them and don’t judge or tell other people what to do.

Live and let live.

Stop press. On the BBC Radio2 news this morning the bad news item for the environment today was the failure of the UK to increase air quality to meet EU standards. Apparently it will take another six years to meet them. One of the main culprits is larger soot or carbon particles, which is a by-product of diesel engines in particular.

Cities are the worst place for low air quality which is caused to a greater degree by buses, taxis, delivery vans, lorries and of course some cars and of course still a lot of trains. 4x4s are a tiny percentage of this but let’s not let a politically driven and envy based bias get in the way of the truth of the situation.

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