Thursday, October 26, 2006

What Richmond Council ought to be doing

Yesterday, as has been well reported, the Lib Dem run Richmond Council has announced a prescriptive local tax policy on those wishing to have "Resident Parking Permits". Basically, it will band vehicles by CO2 output and charge higher rates for the right to park on the road outside houses.

Without wishing to get too philosophical, this is exactly the wrong way to go about tackling climate change and CO2 output. Using taxation to change behaviour rarely works, when it hurts, and especially when it hurts the poor, as this policy will do, it creates resentment, not compliance.

Instead of arbitrarily trying to reduce emissions by targeting one single small group, Council's should be looking to encourage greater carbon neutrality from its residents. What might that mean in practice? Well here's an idea, if, as Richmond Council claim, there approach is revenue neutral, then how about offering scaled discounts from reasonably set parking permit price on the basis of driver carbon offsetting?

Instead of having a rising price scale, what you do is set your permit price at say, £150 per year (that figure is arbitrary for my example before anyone complains it is too high or too low). You then offer, in conjunction with Climate Care, residents the ability to off-set their car's carbon output. In return they receive a rebate/discount on their parking permit at the end of the year or beginning of the next, which is a notional amount higher than their offset cost. e.g. £150 for a permit at the beginning of year, £25 offset charge at the end of the year, rebate of £50 from the Council.

This kind of policy, unlike that proposed in Richmond, would encourage people to be aware of their impact of the environment and make them act by offering them a discount to their pocket. If Council's genuinely mean it when they say the want revenue neutral schemes then carbon neutral carrots, rather than taxation sticks are what they ought to be doing.


The Hitch said...

Where your argument turns into complete bollocks is the moment you assume without any proof what so ever that climate change is a man made phenomena. You are allowing yourself to be suckered into more taxation and control by the usual suspects.

dizzy said...

I didn't say or assume anything Peter, you;re the one making the assumption. Proof is a dnagerous term, nothing is ever proven, we just fail to disprove and the more times we do it the stronger those theories validty becomes.

The Hitch said...

You appear to be saying that climate change MAY be be caused by mankind therefore lets do something just in case.
Am i wrong?

dizzy said...

Nope, I'm saying that on the balance of evidence provided by the scientific community, of which there are certainly differing opinions, the evidence to suggest man is having an impact on the environment outweighs that which asserts the opposite.

Whether we like it not though, the planet's climate is changing anyway, and is warming. The warming is being caused by the trapping of heat due to changes in the atmosphere.

As to doing something just in case, actually, if you had read what I said, I am proposing a way of incentivising permit parking charges to actually make them cheaper for people. Permits are nothing new and exist for reasons that have nothing to do with the environment. Offset CO2 output with the planting of trees and then providing rebates to those that do is not a bad thing whether climate change is man's fault or not frankly. You said I was proposing taxing people, I was actually proposing a tax cut which could be couple with an enviornmental awareness.

Serf said...

In defence of Dizzy's proposal, he used the magic words, revenue neutral. Even if climate change is a figment of fevered leftist imagination, then such proposals will at worst do no harm.

The Hitch said...

Of course we have an impact on our environment, if I step on an ant I am having an impact.
look once upon a time this country was covered in ice and prior to that had a tropical climate. explain those changes , they certainly didnt come about due to some bint called samantha dropping balthalzar off at school in a porsche cayenne.

Anonymous said...

It's all a plot by Richmond council to bump up the prices of houses with garages.

Anonymous said...

Dizzy, (setting all arguments about whether or not climate change is caused by CO2 emissions aside), I totally agree with your sentiments. I have been thinking for a long time that councils(or the government, for that matter)in wishing to reduce pollution need to start offering carrots not sticks. When are the dumbos going to realise that they'd get much better co-operation from people by giving them a good reason (ie. more money in their pockets) to drive their cars less or "pollute" less. Instead they keep doling out "punishment" which merely breeds resentment and rebellion in the public mood? However, as someone else has pointed out, there's a financial motive behind all this - the wolf in green sheep's clothing, so to speak! Good on you Dizzy!