IN SEVEN years, diesel vans under 3.5 tons will be banned from sale. How will the switch from diesel to battery-powered vans affect business and commerce? Cost and range are factors of concern. A battery-powered Ford Transit costs over £10,000 more than a similar specification diesel van. The diesel, depending on fuel tank size selected, can carry its payload more than 500 miles, and takes only minutes to refuel. A laden battery Transit will manage 90 miles in summer, less in winter, and will take hours to recharge.
Then there is the question of service life. Looking at the Ford Transit Forum, the record for mileage is over 750,000 miles. While this is exceptional, figures of 200,000 are not uncommon. The trouble with battery vans is that the batteries degrade from the word go, and cost a huge sum to replace. I doubt if many will go further than 150,000 miles on the original battery, then they will probably be scrapped because the new battery will cost more than the value of the vehicle. Surely a cost-benefit analysis should be carried out about battery vans; after all, if the cost of transporting goods soars, so will the cost of living.
The reason for scrapping new dependable diesels and petrol vehicles is a supposed climate crisis, and the cause of this crisis, we are told, is anthropogenic global warming caused by CO2. Hence the ‘need’ to ban fossil fuels and move to a grid dependent on the vagaries of wind power. The irony is that building a wind farm without fossil fuels is impossible. The towers are made of steel which requires coking coal, the (non-recyclable) rotors consist of a composite plastic made from oil, and of course the gearboxes are filled with gallons of oil. The components are transported to site on land or at sea by diesel power. Even the hard hats, eye shields and hi-vis jackets used by the technicians are made from oil.
We need coal to make coke to make steel, and it makes sense to mine it in Britain rather than import it. Hence the go-ahead for the new colliery near Whitehaven. Production here will be sufficient to allow exports too; not only that but it will bring highly skilled, well-paid jobs to an area in sore need of them. Opposition to this project from ill-informed politicians and eco-zealots has held up this project for seven years. They say coal will ‘damage the planet’. But Germany, Europe’s powerhouse, is getting one-third of its electricity from coal-fired power stations – 37,000MW of reliable, cheap, weather-independent power. Japan produces over 50,000 MW from coal – and the UK a measly 4,000 MW, and zero by 2025. Not only should the Whitehaven mine go ahead in a rational world but we should be looking at opening new state-of-the-art collieries and power stations to tap the 3billion tons of UK coal reserves.
The science about AGW is not settled. Recent research using satellite temperature data has shown that warming has stalled, and indeed cooling is likely caused by the North Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. The Greenland ice sheet has grown. Arctic ice shrinking has stopped. The media has failed to keep up. Repeated apocalyptic predictions of climate-caused disaster have proved false. In July 2019 the then Prince Charles said: ‘I am firmly of the view that the next 18 months will decide our ability to keep climate change to survivable levels and to restore nature to the equilibrium we need for our survival’. Oh dear.
A particularly virulent form of the Net Zero virus has been caught in Scotland by the SNP regime, governing in tandem with the separatist Greens. From 2025, Patrick Harvie, the Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights, intends oil, solid fuel and LPG central heating should be ‘phased out’ from off-gas-grid homes. That will also apply to on-gas-grid homes from 2030. I have been unable to discover exactly what ‘phasing out’ means. Does it mean that from 2025 we will no longer be able to have a new LPG boiler fitted? Will we who just a love a blazing coal fire on a winter’s night, reflected in an amber glass of finest malt, no longer be able to enjoy that simple pleasure? Very likely. Perhaps Mr Harvie can explain in detail what it does mean and how much it will cost to have a heat pump fitted, which many experts say is a bad idea.
It is clear, however, that Mr Harvie and the SNP intend to force gas, oil, and coal use to be ended whether householders want it or not – just as they are keen to make farmers and foresters and gamekeepers give up their dependable diesel Land Rovers and pick-ups in favour of battery-powered vehicles. This is in line with the SNP/Green top-down Net Zero strategy which – even more than that of the Westminster government – is totalitarian in nature, where those in power dictate to hard-working men and women how they must live their lives.
They say this is to ‘save the planet’ from CO2 , but the fact is that if Britain were not to exist from tomorrow it would not make one iota of difference to climate change.