Havering’s Politicians and ULEZ

ULEZ involves explaining complicated science with long-term health outcomes. ULEZ’s costs are brutally simple. Car owners with 18-year-old cars suffer immediately. Therefore, there’s a conflict between short-term pain and long-term benefits. This is toxic for politicians. Havering’s politicians have chosen to placate the ‘victims’ of short-term pain at the cost of Public Health.

MPs

Jon Cruddas says1 ULEZ is will be a good idea after the cost-of-living crisis finishes.

Julia Lopez says she wants to continue her climb up the political ladder.

Andrew Rosindell says Havering should exit London and ULEZ

Councillor Leaders

Keith Darvill supports Cruddas with ULEZ pushed into an unknown future date.

Ray Morgon thinks ULEZ isn’t right because Havering only has a ‘few’ hotspots.2

Damian White is currently in a Trappist Monastery.

Their Mutual Problem

No councillor or MP acknowledges ULEZ will reduce Havering’s three-a-week death rate.

No councillor or MP acknowledges 100s of children suffer from lung impairment caused by air pollution.

Havering’s Legal Obligation

Our [the government] landmark Environment Bill places a duty on us to set at least two air quality targets by October 2022, including an ambitious, legally-binding target to reduce fine particulate matter – the most damaging pollutant to human health. We know local authorities are best placed to address the issues they face in their areas. We look forward to receiving innovative ideas for ways to reduce emissions, help communities understand how they can limit their exposure to air pollution, and promote cleaner, greener alternatives.

Source Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the UK – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The impact of Fine Particulate Matter

Studies have found a close link between exposure to fine particles and premature death from heart and lung disease. Fine particles are also known to trigger or worsen chronic disease such as asthma, heart attack, bronchitis and other respiratory problems…..An association between mothers’ exposure to fine particles and birth defects has also been established by several reports.

Source What is PM2.5 and Why You Should Care | Bliss Air

Havering’s Politicians and ULEZ

Havering’s politicians won’t admit there’s a Public Health air pollution crisis. They deny the science and impacts of air pollution, which are well established. The NHS can’t save the lives of 178 people p.a. and only mitigates child lung impairment. That’s the political challenge.

Havering’s politicians are dodging the decision-making bullet. They’ve made the ‘decision’ to maintain the status quo ante.3 As a result, 100s of children will pay an awful price in impaired lung capacity. Meanwhile older people die gruesome deaths from respiratory failure.

Havering’s politicians are spineless because they never discuss the consequences of their position. They never say how many deaths and lung impairment events are acceptable in their protection of those owning elderly cars. The unstated position is that short-term political advantage is more important than Public Health.

Notes

1 “says” This is a paraphrase of the implications of public statements. For Julia this is satire as it is for Andrew. None of them actually said what I say they said. Keith and Ray said things which are loosely connected to this section. Damian isn’t in a Trappist Monastery.

2 £9 million fund opens for local projects to tackle air pollution – Defra in the media (blog.gov.uk) accessed 17th February 2023. The government clearly think that the time for action has arrived and look forward to Councils putting their best foot forward. This is in addition to ULEZ.

3 NetFlix’s film ‘Don’t Look Up’ was based on the idea that if you couldn’t see a threat it didn’t exist

Havering Council Meeting, 23rd November, 2022: Question Time

Resident Association councillors used to ask questions about potholes and such like. Osman Dervish would smile sweetly, pat them on the head and say, ‘Well done’. Drivel, but everyone felt better. Now the roles are reversed. The question is, ‘How well are Conservatives doing?’

The first question was by Keith Prince.1 His question (Q1) was about ULEZ.2 He knows opening questions are routine with the supplementary question being the killer. Cunning politicians put cabinet members3 in a tough spot and score a triumph. I thought Keith would be classy.

Unfortunately, the blind were leading the blind. Barry Mugglestone hadn’t read the ULEZ proposals and thinks, wrongly, it’s about climate change. Even worse he thinks it’s a tax. Barry was reading a prepared answer from officers, who also haven’t read the proposals, or have, and Barry didn’t accept their answer. It’s beyond stupid to misunderstand ULEZ’s purpose, which is, “To help clean up London’s air 

Furthermore “…ULEZ is central to the Mayor of London’s plans to improve Londoners’ health. It will clean up the city’s toxic air, which leads to the early deaths of thousands of people every year.”5 (my emphasis)

Keith isn’t guilty of misunderstanding. He’s playing politics. On this occasion he ranted about taxation, which he knows isn’t true.6 He then made progress. He said if people driving 18 year old bangers are charged £12.50 a day for destroying people’s health, Havering’s businesses will collapse. Keith doesn’t have a grip on economic realities.

The principal purpose of ULEZ is saving lives in Havering.

Addendum: Question allocation

If the Administration believe that ULEZ is about climate change why wasn’t it given to Climate Change cabinet member Keith Darvill to answer?

Notes

1 Council questions.pdf (havering.gov.uk)

2 Ultra Low Emission Zone – Transport for London (tfl.gov.uk)

3 Barry Mugglestone. Annotator Player (sonicfoundry.com) Got to 29 minutes in

4 Ultra Low Emission Zone – Transport for London (tfl.gov.uk)

5 Havering, ULEZ and Public Health – Politics in Havering About 3 people a week die in Havering from air pollution

6 Because he knows what taxation means.

Havering, ULEZ and Public Health

Government intervention in urban Public Health began in 1835 when councils were permitted to build pavements and charge them to ratepayers. 120 years later The Clean Air Act was passed by a Conservative government to stop thousands of preventable deaths from air pollution. The Great Smog, 1952, slaughtered Londoners adding to the normal annual toll.

The 1956 Act banned traditional open coal fires and turbocharged the switch to central heating.

 

Domestic coal delivery was a very hard and dirty job

The Clean Air Act was transformative, with housing changed forever. There were significant costs during the transition period. But! Tens of thousands of lives were saved and Londoners lived longer, happier, healthier lives.

ULEZ stands in this tradition. “The ULEZ is central to the Mayor of London’s plans to improve Londoners’ health. It will clean up the city’s toxic air, which leads to the early deaths of thousands of people every year.”2

The Great Smog of 1952 was a physical reality. Parts of London came to a halt with choking polluted air and very poor visibility.

 

The Great Smog of London killed thousands of Londoners

21st century air pollution is invisible, though deaths are unpleasantly real. Three people a week die in Havering from air pollution. Deaths are the gruesome tip of a toxic iceberg. Thousands of people suffer respiratory problems which ruin their everyday lives.

During the transition to EV vehicles, ULEZ is a small and important step. It stands in a long Public Health tradition stretching back to 1835.

Notes

1 Summer 2022. ULEZ is London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone. For the historical contest see Highway Act 1835 – Wikipedia and Clean Air Act 1956 – Wikipedia

2 The Mayor’s Ultra Low Emission Zone for London | London City Hall There are about 9,500 air pollution deaths each year Twice as many deaths caused by air pollution in London – HealthyAir

Andrew Rosindell: Parliament, 14th December, 2021

Dr Luke Evans (Con) While masks are of course inconvenient, they are a relatively easy way of reducing the risk of not only covid, but other viruses such as flu. Let us not forget that the number of flu admissions places a huge amount of pressure on the NHS, so a reduction in both conditions—as evidenced—makes sense to me.”1 Hansard 14th December 2021

Andrew believes making mask wearing compulsory is an infringement of liberty. Let’s see if Andrew’s position is coherent.

Enoch Powell was a philosopher-politician and a true libertarian. In 1973 he argued against mandatory helmets for motor cyclists because suicide wasn’t illegal.2 Powell’s position was that reckless behaviour sometimes results in death but so what? That’s the price of reckless behaviour sometimes. Wearing masks during a pandemic isn’t being reckless with your own life, it’s being reckless with the lives of other people. In brief, it’s a Public Health issue.

Let’s imagine Andrew’s infected, unknowingly, with Covid-19’s new potent form, Omicron. A simple way of reducing his capacity to infect others is to wear a mask.3 He’s against this and refused to vote for mandatory mask wearing. He claims it’s an infringement of his ‘liberty’. The liberty to infect others.

Covid-19 effects people differently. The impact ranges from nothing to death. The Public Health response is to protect the population from known danger. Protective measures includes wearing masks.

Dr Evans said masks are “inconvenient” but “a relatively easy way of reducing…risk”. Not a magic bullet but important during a pandemic. Andrew is indulging in political posturing.

Responsible leadership demands that the public good triumphs over personal inclination. This is especially true for our MPs.

Notes

1 Parliamentary debate on Public Health with four votes on regulations for the current pandemic Public Health – Hansard – UK Parliament For the actual resolution on face masks see “That the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI, 2021, No. 1400), dated 9 December 2021.” There were 41 No votes including Andrew

2 MOTOR CYCLISTS (HELMETS) (Hansard, 5 April 1973) (millbanksystems.com)

3 Now mask wearing has been legislated for there’s no reason to believe he won’t obey the law.