Friday, April 25, 2008

Green = More Taxes (for Politicians)

I thought I'd blog an extension to this post as I've been mullling over this all day:
Richmond Transits: Blatant hypocrisy over parking spaces

A few simple ideas:
- Why don't we get reduced VAT (from 17.5 to 5%) on all loft conversions incorporating a planted roof?
- Or a tax credit when installing solar / geothermic central heating?
- Or get grants for all renovations achieving a set target for insulation?

Both would save significant carbon emissions and make buildings more sustainable.

To me, politicians are hypocritical about green issues: it's not that they don't care. They do. A lot: it allows to raise taxes, such as congestion charge, road pricing, etc etc...

The endless greenwhash (non-sensical talks incorporating green keywords) only harms everyone's acceptance of the need to act now whithout producing significant results. Greenwash kills Green Goodwill because the consumers intimately feel they're not getting a good deal.

Blatant hypocrisy over parking spaces

Richmond council announced they will be taxing parents for dropping off their kids at local schools (through ending the 15 mn free parking allowance in a CPZ).

They are blaming the lack of parking places in the borough, paving the way for more CPZ (Controlled Parking Zones): More CPZ to come? (Richmond and Twickenham Times, 25/4/08)

This is simply and utterly hypocrisy: just consider the fact the council limits parking places in new developments such as the scheme in Garden road or the the office block extended in Chalkers corner.

But then, to me it looks like Green has become a synonym for "more taxes": every time taxpayers are being hit, especially in Richmond, it's in the name of the Carbon Reduction God, just like the failed congestion charge is now disguised into a low emission zone, etc...

When I read Jeremy Clarkson saying the greenies are the new trotskysts I thought it was amusing and second degree. Actually, I don't anymore. While I am all for doing everything we can to not leave the planet in a better state that the baby boomers are now handing it over to Generation X, the issue with the "green issue" is polititians who have managed to remove all substance and tax more.

It's always the stick: you drive a large car? Market forces and fuel prices are not enough, here's an additional parking tax. But that applies mostly to motorists, not to Heathrow. Nor do we get carrots: on the continent you get tax breaks for installing solar powered heating, geothermal exchanger, etc... Here, we just get free rockwool. Just like the congestion charge: a plaster on a broken leg.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Greengauge 21

Found this great web site today, much of it reflects my own positions on high-speed rails in the UK (or the lack thereof) and suggestions for a second high-speed train line (HS2):
Greengauge21 – driving the debate on high speed rail

This should also be of interest to Richmond residents:
The Impact of High Speed Rail on Heathrow Airport, March 2006 PDF File 500Kb

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