What next Boris? Diesel scrappage to car free Sundays?

Britain has often been criticised for looking to other countries for ideas and solutions instead of solving things for itself, and now it seems that Mayor Boris Johnson has taken some inspiration from Indonesia for a way to alleviate traffic problems in the city.

Boris was taken on a bicycle tour of Jakarta by President Joko Widodo and was rather impressed with the car-free Sunday system that the city has implemented for the last 16 years. Although he admitted that it probably wouldn’t work in the same way for the capital, he plans to discuss the idea with Transport for London in the New Year.

This is not the only move that Boris has made to tackle pollution in London recently – in September Motors.co.uk reported that he has also proposed that a £1,000 scrappage scheme be introduced, which would see anyone scrapping a diesel car awarded one thousand pounds. This move came after it was revealed that diesel cars are responsible for much of the air pollution in the city.

Shockingly, London was revealed as the most polluted city in the world, although it has been suggested that other cities have not been as honest with their data. This could have an impact on car sales; diesel cars could become less valuable and, in contrast, sales of petrol cars could rise. How this would affect the oil companies is unknown, although a concerning thought is that some companies may limit the supply of oil if the UK were seen to be ‘anti-diesel’.

Traffic Analysis Centre (TAC) published a report in 2010 that showed that traffic volumes in London in 2010 were actually lower than in 1993 on major roads, although there was a slight increase in numbers on minor roads, which could just mean that savvy drivers started taking a different route to work.

Most of us can’t imagine a Britain with silent roads on a Sunday. Whether the idea would catch on in this age of immediacy is dubious – would we really cope with not being able to go where we want, how we want, when we want, just because it’s Sunday? The idea does carry a kind of nostalgia about it, but it may be that times have moved on too far for us to take a step back.

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