By Paul Homewood

For a long time I have believed that there would be a pushback against climate policies, once the public began to see the real impact.

Successive governments have kicked the can down the road, but sooner or later one someone would have to pick it up, and that has now happened.

And the public reaction is already apparent, for instance:

A third of motorists are unable to afford even the cheapest electric car, experts warn.

The figure – equivalent to ten million households – highlights how many ordinary families will struggle to finance the switch from petrol and diesel cars being pushed by ministers.

Even middle-earning households will have difficulty paying for one of the cheapest leased electric vehicles – the £170-a-month Skoda Citigo.

The findings are a blow to Government plans to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. Motor groups have described the £12billion plan as ‘incredibly ambitious’ when plug-ins account for just 0.3 per cent of vehicles.

High up-front costs and a lack of road chargers have been blamed for stagnating demand.

Entry-level electric vehicles are around £5,000 more expensive than equivalent fuel models.

Howard Cox, founder of the FairFuelUK pressure group, said the plans risk ‘demonising’ petrol and diesel drivers unable to afford the switch to electric.

He added: ‘Has the Government asked low income households, families and hard-pressed small businesses if they have signed up to their inequitable green revolution?’


Former Ofgem boss Dermot Nolan warns consumers will face higher energy bills over next decade to fund vital upgrades to the electricity grid

Millions of consumers could be stung with higher electricity bills to fund a massive power network overhaul before petrol cars are banned in 2030, Britain’s former top energy regulator has warned.

Dermot Nolan, who stepped down as head of Ofgem earlier this year, said that a £2.4bn Government funding package „isn’t going to cut it” as the grid is retooled to cope with surging demand from millions of drivers charging up their vehicles.

He said that bill-paying households are likely to be forced to fill the gap.

It came as Vauxhall’s boss suggested that subsidies could be needed to persuade consumers to switch to more expensive electric cars, and former Chancellor Nigel Lawson dismissed the Government’s proposals as an economic disaster.

Ministers have announced a £12bn raft of measures to make the UK a leader in green energy, from developing mini nuclear reactors to using hydrogen gas for heating homes.

The scheme includes a ban on petrol and diesel cars in 2030, followed by hybrids five years later, forcing the country to embrace more environmentally friendly electric alternatives. But Mr Nolan said the £2.4bn set aside for this part of the scheme is nowhere near enough.

He said: “To be blunt, there’s going to be a lot more than £2bn involved over the next 10 years – a lot, lot more.“

Car bosses are also worried that consumers may resist pressure to switch to electric vehicles that are more expensive to buy than traditional cars.

Stephen Norman, Vauxhall managing director, called for “clear long-term fiscal incentives to provide customers certainty in their purchasing decisions and ensuring that low emission vehicles are affordable for all”.

Vauxhall’s Corsa E electric car costs £26,400, some £10,000 more than its cheapest petrol model.

The Prime Minister announced £12bn of funding for the wider greene energy scheme, but only £2.4bn of this is directed towards the automotive industry.

Ministers are providing £1.3bn to accelerate building a charging infrastructure, £582m for subsidies to make electric vehicles cheaper and almost £500m on developing and scaling up production batteries for vehicles.

The spending pledge led former Chancellor and noted climate change sceptic Lord Lawson to accuse Boris Johnson of being “economically illiterate.”

He said: “If the Government were trying to damage the economy they couldn’t be doing it better.

“A programme to erect statues of Boris in every town and village in the land would also ‘create jobs’ but that doesn’t make it a sensible thing to do.”

Millions of charging points will be needed by 2030 as Britons ditch petrol, and this will require huge upgrades to the power network as a whole so it can handle changing patterns of energy use.

This overhaul of the country’s energy infrastructure will result in bill increases that will force Brits to pay for electric car infrastructure while still using their petrol vehicles, Mr Nolan said.

The former watchdog, who now works at consultant Fingleton, said: “The question for Ofgem is how much are consumers prepared to pay? That is going to drive bill changes over time. 


According to Claire Perry, the Government’s former Climate Czar, Dominic Cummings doesn’t “get” the green stuff, seeing it as an obsession of southern posh boys that is of little interest to key voters in the Red Wall seats. One of those posh boys is undoubtedly the Prime Minister, whose plan for a “Green Industrial Revolution” was launched this week.

While long on vision, the presentation was very short on detail, but there was plenty to make the humble taxpayer very nervous indeed. For example, item one on the agenda of Boris Johnson’s revolution will be to bring about a quadrupling of offshore windfarm capacity. To call this a major blunder would be to take British understatement to an extreme.

Westminster groupthink is a recipe for poor policies that will harm consumers and do little for the planet
This week, Boris Johnson promised a Green Industrial Revolution and an end to new petrol cars by 2030. He is not the first. In the Labour manifesto at the last election, on which his party went crashing to defeat, Jeremy Corbyn promised a “Green Industrial Revolution” and an end to new petrol cars by 2030.
In current mainstream politics, everyone is Green, with the Left setting the pace. The only competition is to be Greener than thou. Obviously, this is a better situation than if all parties agreed they couldn’t care less about the future of the planet, but not as much of an improvement as you might imagine. The problem when all parties agree is that they stop thinking. The public suffers.

Critics have already observed that the compulsory switch to electric cars will be an expensive purchase for the consumer and a physical problem for the millions of motorists who lack the space to install a convenient charging point where they live. It will also vastly increase the demand for electricity. In recent years, energy prices have not shot up, because shale has reduced the price of oil and gas. If those options are phased out, green energy becomes nakedly expensive, and consumers have no way out of it. Fuel poverty is one of the great political horrors that politicians seek to avoid. We now have policies which will impose it.
I inhabit an old, detached house in the country with elderly gas boilers. I am consulting our wise boiler expert, Jeremy, about what we should do to replace them.
Well, he says, we could buy air-source heat pumps, but they cost four or more times replacement boilers (between £10,000 and £20,000). They do not produce nearly such high temperatures as gas. The pieces of kit have to be located outside the dwelling. Air-source heat pumps demand so much more electricity that we might need a new feed of supply from the road. Jeremy adds that Britain is anyway in “an electricity-impoverished state”, so the supply might not even be there in ten years.
Or we could install ground-source heat pumps, but they have even lower temperature yield than air-source ones. To put the required underfloor heating in a house like ours would create “carnage”, or we could “grossly oversize” all the radiators.
There is also a looming doubt about what will actually happen when an entire country fairly quickly discards gas boilers. There is currently gas central heating in more than 22 million homes. Can we believe that a Government-inspired replacement technology will be available for all when we all need it – or will it be “world-beating”, like Test and Trace?
None of the above impugns the need to search for low-carbon energy. The problem is Government, urged on by pseudo-religious fanaticism. In the Middle Ages, it was common for rulers to summon up crusades to the Holy Land to prove their piety. Always these were bloody and time-consuming. (Richard the Lionheart spent more of his reign fighting them than ruling in England.) Frequently they were futile. But they could raise a king’s reputation. Climate change is the 21st-century equivalent, and so Boris wants, as reporters put it, to “burnish his Green credentials”. Given that two thirds of the world are not even trying to follow the rules towards Net Zero, his sacrifice of our money is futile.
This is governmental vanity. The Prime Minister wants a Green Industrial Revolution. Look at the real Industrial Revolution – the one which made Britain rich. It was not started by a politician in 1760 or thereabouts saying, “Let’s have an industrial revolution” and taxing everyone to make it happen. It started for almost the opposite reason – that inventive people were free to get on inventing, and Government kept its distance.




November 23, 2020 at 05:57AM