Azara Blog: December 2011 archive complete

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Date published: 2011/12/25

Cambridge city council wants to blow 460k on 20 mph limit (permanent blog link)

The Cambridge News says:

Imposing a city-wide 20mph speed limit in Cambridge would cost taxpayers around £460,000 - and Guildhall chiefs are set to stump up the cash.

After months of complaints that existing "slow zones" are not observed because they cover a patchwork of arbitrarily selected streets interspersed with roads that have 30mph maximums, the city council has proposed a two-year project to design and implement more comprehensive restrictions.

At this stage it is thought a city-wide scheme would leave the main arterial routes and the ring road at 30mph and then consolidate existing 20mph limits in the historic centre as well as rolling them out in residential areas.
...
Cllr Tim Ward, the council's transport boss, said the project included a review of what works currently and what doesn't, as well as consultation.

He argued lowering speed limits in one go was cheaper and more effective than doing it step-by-step, and said all but £60,000 of the bill would be capital funding, which cannot bankroll day-to-day services.

Cllr Ward said: "We think it's an appropriate use of a one-off sum of money, given that we can't spend it on continuing services."

This illustrates the reason why ordinary people do not like politicians. First of all, they purposefully created 20mph speed limits in a few random places. Then they did not sign post them properly. Then, surprise, nobody obeyed the speed limits. Then, surprise, the politicians blamed drivers, not themselves, for this. Then, surprise, the politicians have now decided that the best "solution" to the "problem" is to just propagate the zones everywhere (or almost everywhere, since they haven't bothered to tell anyone yet what they are going to do).

And hopefully the quotes from Tim Ward were taken out of context, because they are unbelievably dumb. Guess what, if the city has lots of money to spend, it doesn't have to spend it, it can instead send the money back to the taxpayer. Just having money to blow on some pet project is not a good enough reason to blow the money. Unfortunately politicians seem not to understand this. Of course Ward can make the usual sanctimonious middle class anti-car arguments, if he wants to "justify" throwing all this money at a non-problem looking for a non-solution.

Church of England supports ridiculous solar energy subsidies (permanent blog link)

The BBC says:

The Church of England and the National Trust have written to the government saying recent policy changes put community solar power schemes at risk.

They fear the changes "signal a retreat" in government plans to move towards localised renewable energy.

This week, the High Court ruled that a plan to halve subsidies for solar panels was "legally flawed", and MPs' committees said it was "panicky".

The church and the charity want a UK target for community energy.

Both organisations have tried to take a leadership role in developing community energy schemes.

They believe this type of project is being unfairly penalised by proposed changes to the feed-in tariff (FiT), the scheme that pays householders and communities a subsidy for producing solar electricity.

Their letter, to Climate Change Minister Greg Barker, is also signed by think-tank Forum for the Future and charitable consultants Carbon Leapfrog.

"I don't think anyone could argue with the fact that the way FiTs were set up created a bit of a market bubble, and economies had to be made," said Patrick Begg, the National Trust's director of rural enterprises.

"But the way the government has chosen to change the models has really shaken confidence - and it's very difficult to be certain that when commitments are made about support for renewables, they're going to stick," he told BBC News.

The letter contrasts the "sudden lurches" in policy and support that the UK has seen with the long-term stability that underpins the success of community-scale solar electricity in Germany.

"Twenty years of solid support has led to 18% of [Germany's] national energy supply now coming from renewable sources, with 45% of schemes owned by co-operatives and farmers," it reads.

"In the UK, this is just 1.5%."

Even the supporters of this crazy feed-in tariff admit the rate was stupidly high (hence the "bubble"). Unfortunately once the ruling elite (middle class, i.e. rich, people, the church, the solar industry, the usual so-called environmentalists, etc.) start receiving an unjust subsidy, which in fact represents a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich, they are unsurprisingly unwilling to see it go away, no matter how immoral it is. And it is unfortunate that the Church of England is indeed supporting this immoral policy (one expects the National Trust to behave like that, since it is run by and for the propertied classes, but the Church ought to at least pretend to know better).

And there is no reason why the UK should have "community energy schemes" as a major part of any energy policy, especially if they are inefficient, which generally they are, and hence expensive. The ruling elite in the Church of England and the National Trust can afford high energy bills. Meanwhile back in the real world, ordinary people should not have to pay over the odds for energy just to suit the backwards world view of the ruling elite.

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