The reality of Brexit and politics

I’m not the only person watching the countdown to Brexit very closely.  On the other side of the Channel, Annette Dittert, the ARD‘s correspondent in London and author of “London Calling: Als Deutsche auf der Brexit-Insel” is providing regular updates on her Facebook page as well as making frequent appearances on the evening news.

This morning she released a video containing three very interesting interviews.  The first of which left me shaking my head in despair.  Staff and customers in a London café complain that the UK should have been out of the EU by now and is not leaving quick enough, and they are somehow under the impression that “they need us more than we need them”, rejecting the possibility of “no deal” leaving the country poorer and without trade deals.

A London Underground train on the Northern Line in May 2007

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London to introduce variable Congestion Charge

After writing about the new “low-emission” zone in London, I was fascinated to read about a scheme for normal cars to make the Congestion Charge variable according to the car’s emissions.

The idea is, that the current charge of 8GBP could rise up to as much as 25GBP for vehicles that have high emission rates, but on the other hand the charge could be reduced down to nothing for low-emission cars.

I’m note sure that everyone will approve, but I’ll be keeping an eye on the new tariffs to see whether bio-ethanol cars belong to the “free” category!

London’s “low emission” zone

Tonight I read about London’s new “low emission” zone on the BBC News website.

Germany has been talking about such schemes for a while now, indeed they started issuing the discs last year and I have a green one in my bio-ethanol car. But until now it has been up to the individual towns and cities to decide to implement the scheme. At the start of this year, some of them did – causing discussion amongst the population of the affected cities.

I myself will be travelling to one of these soon (Cologne), so I shall see for myself it it has had an impact.

But back to London – the scheme seems to be more controlled than the German ones, but covers less vehicles.

For a start, cars are exempt to the London scheme – they are not in Germany. In fact, even foreign cars have to get their discs before entering the zones.

On the other hand, the London scheme is being policed by CCTV cameras – something that German cities do not have in such numbers, and even those that do have them cannot, as far as I know, use them to this particular cause.

Critics of the scheme will no doubt sight the cost of upgrading vehicles, something that has been discussed in Germany as well.  Whilst this is definitely a valid point, and Germany has made a number of exceptions for residents to avoid the issue, it’s got to be a good way to start reducing the emissions on our roads, hasn’t it?

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