Saturday, June 17, 2017

Is The Cost Barrier To Switch To Zero-Emission Taxis Too High?

Taxi drivers are keen to use low emission alternatives to diesel vehicles, but barriers including cost may be preventing a switch, research has suggested. 

The ‘Cabbies for Clean Air’ research, which was jointly compiled by the behaviour change charity Global Action Plan, and LPG fuel supplier Calor, saw 19 taxi drivers in London, Southampton and Glasgow interviewed on the issue of air pollution.

Taxi drivers from London, Southampton and Glasgow were interviewed as part of the research. 

According to the research, drivers are concerned about the impact of air pollution on their health while being exposed to vehicle emissions for 8-12 hours during the working day, as well as potential health impacts on the wider population.

The drivers interviewed expressed their desire to tackle the problem, but claimed that the cost of switching to lower emission vehicles is seen as a significant barrier to change, with some cab drivers interviewed describing the move to zero emission electric vehicles as ‘unaffordable’.

The research suggests that the cost for a new diesel back cab is around £45,000 – whilst the latest electric models are claimed to cost significantly more, with one driver in Scotland quoting a £60,000 cost for an electric vehicle.

Support for cabbies to switch to low emission electric vehicles is available, and in March the government announced a £50 million Plug-in Taxi Grant programme, which includes offering taxi drivers up to £7,500 off the price of a new vehicle.

However, the Cabbies for Clean Air report has claimed that subsidy schemes “have not gone nearly far enough” to support the roll out of more electric cabs.

The ‘Cabbies for Clean Air’ report is expected to show that electric taxis will become more price competitive with their diesel counterparts as more vehicles enter the market, with the first new TX5 zero emission taxis from the London Taxi Company’s Coventry plant due to go on sale from September 2017, among new models emerging. London Taxi Company has yet to confirm the market price for the TX5.

Many rank and file drivers feel that the change to electric vehicles is just replacing one health nightmare with another, as very little research has been produced by TfL, manufacturers and representative orgs on the effects of long shift working alongside electro magnetic field radiation.

The availability of charging infrastructure, vehicle range and charge times were also quoted as potential barriers to investment in electric vehicles.


Other low emission options exist for taxi drivers, including liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Calor, which backed the report, supplies LPG as an alternative fuel through Autogas Limited, a joint venture with Shell.

The company claims that LPG presents an ‘affordable solution’ to reducing vehicle emissions as diesel engines can be converted to run on the fuel, which offers reduced emission levels, at a cost of around £10,000.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Rebecca Hart, corporate affairs manager at Calor, said: “It is important that the views of taxi drivers are understood and considered. Policies aimed at improving our air are rightly being prioritised, but taxi drivers need affordable and readily available solutions to bring their emissions down quickly and get older diesel models off the road.

“Calor believes LP-gas retrofit represents this affordable transition solution. At £10,000, retrofit to LPG will drastically reduce emissions on NOx, PM and carbon and is ULEZ compliant. The government’s new Clean Air Strategy consultation points towards funding that would give taxi drivers support for retrofit which should be given serious consideration by politicians as part of an immediate solution to the air quality challenge.”

The research added that taxi drivers, their  unions and representative orgs are keen to engage in ‘open dialogue’ with local and central government to discuss policies which affect them and other road users.

Chris Large, senior partner of National Clean Air Day organiser Global Action Plan, added: “It is incredible to see the passion that cab drivers have for creating cleaner air in their cities, especially for the sake of children. They have some fantastic ideas for solutions and they clearly want to be a central part of the movement that cleans up air pollution.”

Elsewhere in the report, London taxi drivers expressed concern about an increasing numbers of vehicles on the roads, in particular a rising number of private hire vehicles and called for taxis to be considered as part of a ‘holistic’ approach to infrastructure.

Stuart Hope, a London taxi driver surveyed as part of the project, said: “If someone wants to implement an idea then work alongside the taxi trade so we can actually be the solution and not the problem.”

Source : Air Quality News.

Friday, June 16, 2017


This morning, Grime artist Saskilla told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme that he had been told personally by one of the firefighters at Grenfell Tower that around two hundred bodies had already been identified at the scene of the terrifying blaze. 
The presenter attempted to pour water on the figure, but the musician insisted it was what he was told in person by the firefighter.
Last night, music star Lily Allen was pulled from an appearance on the BBC’s Newsnightafter making similar comments and accusing the government of trying to ‘micromanage people’s grieving’:
Ms Allen was pilloried in the media. The confirmed death toll has increased incrementally since the fire and today rose to thirty.
At the same time, multiple sources told the SKWAWKBOX that the government has placed a ‘D-notice’ (now properly named a ‘DSMA-notice’ and sometimes called a ‘DA Notice’) on the real number of deaths in the blaze:
In effect, although voluntary, this amounts to a gag on the mainstream media – and note that it is applied for for reasons of national security only.
The SKWAWKBOX telephoned the Home Office press office to ask directly whether this was true. To say that the question caused consternation at the other end of the line would not be an overstatement.
The first comment, in a voice that rose at least half an octave, was ‘Where did you get that information?‘, followed by a request for the question by email, even though the SKWAWKBOX editor emphasised that ‘Have you issued a D-notice’ is a verystraightforward, ‘yes/no’ question.
The question has been submitted by email but no response has been provided yet, in spite of a repeat call to the Home Office to advise that publication was imminent.
Since the first call, further people have contacted this blog with the same assertion. The Home Office’s official response will be published if/when one is received.
Reports have also been received about intimidation of locals to prevent disclosure or speculation about the true known death toll.
If it is true that the government has issued a D-notice – and every instinct is screaming that it is – then the government has placed a national security gag on mainstream news editors to prevent them from disclosing what’s already known about the number of lives lost at Grenfell Tower.
This raises a huge question: WHY?.

Is there a national security aspect to this information that has not yet been hinted at?
Or is the Tory government inflating its own party interests into a national security issue in order to control the flow of information that will damage the Tory government and party, allowing it to ‘drip-feed’ a slow increase in the number of confirmed deaths in order to manage public outrage?
Source: Watch Saskilla's interview click link

 All parties had a hand in this.

Extra Comment from Steve Kenton:
This is very simple maths......If you have 24 floors with 120, 1 and 2 bedroom flats.....if 2 persons occupy 1 single bedroom unit on average but not exclusively (allowing for sofa surfers) then that becomes 240 people.
Add another 2 per 2 bed unit (on average then), you are now looking at just over 400 people potentially. 
Given that it happened at 1 am that figure won't be much lower due to people sleeping. 
Add the dead and injured to those already out and take that away from around 400 and there's your true figure.....right now there are 30 dead,  76 injured and 75 missing.......
Where are the rest, because that building had way more than 181 people residing in it.
Taxi Leaks Extra :
Someone finally stood up and said what everyone's thinking !
Click this link 

This afternoon survivers, family and friends of victims marched from Grenfell Tower to Kensington Town Hall, to demand action from the council. 
Protesters were angry that 3 days on from the tragedy, council officers have not made adequate public commitments to help the residents. They are also angry, not one council employee has offered help to the army of volunteers, for the distribution of supplies that have been freely donated by the public. 
This protester said someone needs to go to jail this is corporate manslaughter.
The Grenfell protesters were joined by residents of other tower blocks in the borough who are now worried about their safety.
Theresa May made a surprise visit back to the area tonight but was hurried away by security after the residents turned on her shouting "Coward". 
Also whisked away, was London Mayor Sadiq Khan, when bottles were thrown at him by an angry crowd.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


Blast from the past, from the man tipped by many to overthrow Theresa May.:

Does the arrogance of Tory cuts know no bounds?

Video has emerged of then-London Mayor Boris Johnson defending his cuts to fire services in London before a fire-safety panel of London Assembly Members.


When challenged to explain how cutting fire stations, firefighter positions, fire safety officers could possibly not put the lives of London residents at risk, Johnson at first tries to defend the indefensible by simply asserting that his recklessness works and improvessafety.

Then, when challenged further, he tells a Labour AM,

Oh get stuffed.

Johnson was warned from all sides. The Tories were warned from all sides. They now have the deaths and terrible injuries of innocent people on their hands.

And it seems they don’t care a toss.

Tower Blocks Report' sat on his desk during his whole tenure.

This is the same Mayor who told a London Cabby to "F@@k off and die, but not in that order"


Source Skawkbox:

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