Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bringing back the man with the red flag?

Sometimes you come across something which at first glance seems 'okaaaaayyyy' but with a deeper read is actually so badly thought out that it makes you think 'how on earth did they come up with that?'

This is one such, from the Telegraph over the Easter break.

"Speed limits of just 15 miles-per-hour are to be introduced on major roads in planned new towns across the country as part of an effort to reduce global warming."

Ok, so when the internal combustion engine is only efficient at reasonably high RPM speeds, then just how does this reduce global warming? See, driving at maximum 15mph, probably in 1st or 2nd gear in most vehicles, will dramatically increase fuel consumption (many vehicles at low revs will manage only about 10mpg), it will dramatically increase pollution (vehicles running at low revs emit more none-combusted fuel and waaaayyyy more CO2 (and even worse, carbon monoxide), not to mention the fact that increased journey times (well, in many, but obviously not all cases) would generally increase fuel consumption too.

But it's only proposed for new 'eco-towns', where everybody will be living within "within 400 yards of public transport stop and 800 yards from shops." Sorry, but without some amazingly high housing packing density, that sounds much more like a small village to me. Oh, just realised, most villages no longer have public transport, pubs or shops now anyway, do they?

Despite being proposed for the new 'eco-villages' [sorry, 'towns'] only, it has, of course, brought the usual mass howls of protest and declarations of lunacy from the majority of posters. If, (and it really is a big if), the public transport system is planned, put into place and operated, correctly, it might just work. If not, then it will, without doubt, create more environmental pollution.

But then, not much that our Gov puts into place seems to ever work out too well; so what are the chances of these 'eco-towns' schemes being a success? I'm not overtly optimistic.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Thank heavens for my Road Angel and cruise control (on the Volvo at least), too! At that speed you'll be in 'fine' territory at 1.5mph over limit, or about 1 degree of arc on the speedo. So most will be glued to the dash rather than road.

I was minded of the big catalytic converter brainwave in the US, which by my recollection did not and still doesn't deal with greenhouse gasses?

All I could think when I was over there was the car I was driving seemed to need to burn 6 litres to get enough power to match an Austin Allegro. Hard to figure the eco-logic.

But they did have that 55mph limit, and when you are looking from one side of Arizona to the other in a straight line, that can seem a loooooong way.