The UK's Anti-Car Crusade: Dispatches From the Front

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

This Sunday's Times carried a report from "The People's Republic of Richmond" describing the effects of the London Borough's anti-car jihad, which includes proposals to charge residential parking permit fees according to a vehicle's CO2 emissions. The article paints a vivid picture of a city under siege by its own government. "Across the road, carpet retailer Martin Herdman has erected 1,000-watt speakers outside his shop that emit an air-raid siren blast whenever parking wardens are spotted in the vicinity — usually four or five times a day. An underground network of fellow retailers and residents phone in alerts, and children on bikes cycle ahead of the wardens to give warning." The rest of the piece offers the usual examination of government hypocrisy (300 parking spaces for city council staff) and greed. The most telling quote comes from a sports car-loving immigrant. “I don’t want to sound ungrateful," Zoran Jokic told the Times. "But now I live in a borough that takes away another little freedom every day. In this country we are cramped by people and cramped by legislation. It irritates me considerably, but at least in this society I still have the freedom to speak out and raise my concerns.”

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Johnny Canada Johnny Canada on Sep 04, 2007

    I love England. But I'm saddened to see people handing over their freedom to government "authorities". Freedom that not so long ago, hundreds of thousands fought and died to defend.

  • TaxedAndConfused TaxedAndConfused on Sep 04, 2007

    Its interesting that these local residents have been forced in some cases to cover over their front gardens to make parking spaces. Two points though: - To do this you need planning permission. Ker-ching, local council gets a fee to say "yes". - Recent flooding in the South of England was blamed in part on people (guess what) covering their front gardens up causing rainwater to run off and overwhelm local drains. Genius! Parking enforcement is a huge farce. The system was changed a few years ago from the police being in charge of enforcement to local councils being put in charge. Its for this reason we get Smart cars with cameras in them hiding up local streets trying to spot people parking or something. Now if only they were paying attention to their own parking: The one thing we have had to deal with in the UK is pretty much everyone from the government, local councils and even the police are anti-car. "We" are fighting back but we need credible alternatives to make a choice of who we want to run this place and we don't have those at the moment.

  • Radimus Radimus on Sep 04, 2007

    And in the news today, the London Underground is shut down due to a strike.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Sep 04, 2007

    Let me get this straight. You want to discourage the PARKING of cars that have high CO2 emissions? Somehow that doesn't sound like an idea that is good for the environment. Of course, it was never about the environment, but maybe some of the well intentioned voters will now catch on to the lies of the pols they put in power.