Uxbridge vs the planet

The victory of the Conservative party at the Uxbridge by election is a defeat for the social contract that has been building around the globe to defeat climate change. It is a small defeat but it could be the start of the nimbyism that so far Britain has stayed clear of, a nimbyism so evident in the USA.

The issue seems a minor one, a tax on car emissions levied through ULEZ. Most families in Uxbridge own and drive petrol/diesel cars, ULEZ will restrict the journeys they take in cars and is intended to change behaviour, getting more people onto public transport or using greener forms of self-propulsion.

The imposition of ULEZ on Uxbridge is down to a Labour mayor of London. The Labour party leader, Kier Starmer  is now being asked to distance itself from ULEZ and Sadiq Khan (the mayor). The Conservative party’s leader, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is now being urged to drop his Government’s commitment to meeting climate sustaining targets, Both parties are looking at using anti-green policies to win votes at the next election.

Not in my back yard

Climate is not a party political issue, it is a political issue that should be uniting parties in a common goal. The role of Government is not just to respond to the mood of people (populism) but occasionally to explain why unpopular policies are necessary.

Millions of British people have listened and have either cut down on their use of cars, moved to cleaner cars or abandoned cars altogether. The streets of London are full with bicycles , many acting as delivery vehicles, many carrying commuters to work and between meetings.

But the back yard of Uxbridge , despite having much improved bus and tube links, is not part of this transport revolution and made it clear, it put cars over climate. It is in London Transport’s Zone 6, many of those who voted benefit from free public transport courtesy of London taxpayers – into Zone 6.

I am happy to pay for this free travel and happy to use public transport, not long ago I was driving around London, my behavior has changed because I believe in a just transition.

Shame on the people of Uxbridge. There back yard is not my back yard though I am writing from Slough, adjacent to it. My back yard has no car in it.

A just transition comes at a price

Ulez is part of the price of a just transition, if you don’t want to pay , don’t drive a car. If you have to drive a car then don’t moan that your money is paying to help the planet.

This is not me writing in support of any party, it’s me writing on behalf of the planet. We cannot go on talking about climate change but living lifestyles that have not adjusted to the reality that our climate has changed and will change further and for the worse, if we don’t do anything about it.


Everything we do has a consequence for the planet, no man is an island. If we believe in the ESG values, they should inform the way we behave as a faith in God informs a Muslim or a Christian or a Jew. ESG needs to be so embedded in out behavior that paying extra to harm the planet becomes a necessary and welcome tax.

And when it comes to managing our money, if we do not think that these factors matter, we are tacitly saying that the nimbyism of Uxbridge is aligned to the way we behave.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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3 Responses to Uxbridge vs the planet

  1. Tim Simpson says:

    Hello Henry,
    I agree with what you say above. As you may know, the TfL website states:
    The Ultra Low Emission Zone is an area in London, England where a fee is charged for driving the most polluting vehicles. Plans were announced by London Mayor Boris Johnson in March 2015 for the zone to come into operation in September 2020. Sadiq Khan, the subsequent mayor, introduced the zone early in 8 April 2019.

    Labour should be drawing attention to that fact given, that the previous Uxbridge MP was…?
    Perhaps, like the preceeding COP, when the then Prime Minister came straight out and, within two days, reduced the HS2 destinations. As we all know, vehicle fuel has long been one of the major taxation items because you can’t go anywhere without it. If Labour do override the GLA about pausing/cancelling the ULEZ introduction, they will certainly lose face internationally. If the UK receives the current European heat during August, we might think differently.
    Kind regards.
    Tim Simpson

  2. David McNeice says:

    Trouble is, the narrative is wrong. There is no climate crisis. The planet is not on fire.It has been both warmer and colder than now. CO2 has been much higher for most of the planet’s existence. I read that Starmer and Khan are backing off. Well done, Uxbridge!

  3. Pingback: Time for pensions to stand strong on green issues | AgeWage: Making your money work as hard as you do

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