Tuesday 30 October 2018 10:23 am

London mayor Sadiq Khan’s green war on diesel cars finally hits home


Sad news in my household: Moonie is not long for this world. The time is fast approaching when I must put her out of her misery, despite the fact that she seems pretty robust regardless of her ageing years.

Like Boxer in “Animal Farm,” I will soon load her up into her metaphorical horse box, send her to the knacker’s yard, and that will be the end of it.

Crushed. Not me but her. She will be crushed, literally, because despite being in absolutely tip-top condition, despite starting first time every time, despite her unbelievable fuel economy and once green credentials, the mayor of London has decreed that she must die.

Now, giving my commuter car a gender and a name is a bit extreme, I agree, but the truth is that my little Ford Fiesta has taken me on a 161,000 mile journey, without so much as a blip.

Seriously, once this ex-Essex boy got over the fact that I was buying a car that took me back down the Dagenham (with a soft G) Village memory lane, I have never had a more reliable and efficient car.

I first bought “it,” (genderless now, as I get into my tale), as a fabulously green way of driving into the City every day from my countryside home.

The then-mayor – before he became the Brexiteer pin-up – Boris Johnson told me that if I bought this car, with its under-a-100 grams of CO2 emissions per kilometre, I would not only be helping to save the planet, but I would also get a pass on London’s congestion charges. Win-win.

Now, before someone says I should have got the train in, let me remind the reader that I get up at 3am every day, and there is no other way I can physically commute and be at my desk just before 4.30am other than drive.

Anyway, the glory days of my little Fiesta – which in its heyday was called “clean diesel” – are long gone.

Clean diesel became an oxymoron, or was that just another German car industry lie all along? The exemptions from charges have withered into tumbleweed. No longer seemingly green, but a filthy brown tumbleweed that is.

From April next year, fees go up again, and by my reckoning my valueless little stalwart will cost nearly £5,000 a year in charges to drive in. Now, as stubborn as I am, that is a bit much to stomach.

The current mayor, Sadiq Khan, has some delusion that it is greener to buy a new Tesla, with its globally-assembled components, than to keep my (apparently no longer green) pocket rocket on the road.

Strange logic, just like his myopic counterparts in Germany who think that electric cars powered by German coal are part of the answer.

I ask you, Mr Mayor, is this crusade against cars really about being green? Or is there just a hint – and I won’t think less of you for being honest – of desperation to find a scapegoat for disastrous transport policies and a cash cow to fill in your £1bn Transport for London deficit?