Westminster Council has unveiled what are thought to be the first two recharging points for cars in the UK. The borough suffers from the UK's highest levels of air pollution caused by the amount of traffic flowing in and out of central London. Electric cars produce no pollutants and are exempt from the congestion charge, which will come as welcome news to US embassy staff.
The recharging points may also come in handy for any MPs wishing to get on the good side of Gordon Brown and purchase their very own green mobile. In an initial response to the Stern Review there is every chance that fuel duty will increase in the face of falling oil prices, adding at least 1p a litre to petrol and diesel prices. Air passenger duty is also set to double, resulting in an additional £5 to an economy short-haul flight and £10 to a long-haul flight. We would report the increases in business class ticket prices but Londonist writers are by and large paupers. If it doesn’t affect El Cheapo Air, it doesn’t affect us.
However, Gordon Brown’s eco-economic reforms do not end with the person on the street. Big businesses with annual electricity bills of more than £250,000, or with electricity consumption above 3,000 megawatts, will be forced to sign up to a proposed carbon trading scheme. The firms are responsible for more than a quarter of all UK business and public sector emissions, or 15M tonnes of carbon in real figures.
Under the new proposals, these companies would have to reduce emissions or buy permits from other companies – effectively allowing them the right to pollute above their agreed ceiling. The environment secretary, David Miliband, is consulting until January on whether it should be mandatory or voluntary. At present Whitehall is leaning towards a mandatory scheme, but we shall all have to wait and see.
Image taken from alister’s flickr photostream