The UK Rejects First Ever Sensible EU Proposal

by Alfred Burdett

The UK has rejected proposals from the EU which call for a ban on petrol and diesel cars from city centres by 2050.

The European Commission said phasing out “conventionally fuelled” cars from urban areas would cut reliance on oil and help cut carbon emissions by 60%. …

The idea that it requires a noisy, pollution-creating, ton-and-a-half mobile living room with leather arm-chairs and a 200-horse-power motor to haul some commuter’s arse across town at an average speed of about eight miles an hour is simply insane.

It is time for the developed nations to redesign and rebuild their cities and transportation infrastructure to provide a safer, healthier, more beautiful, and vastly more energy efficient human habitat.

City thoroughfares need to be multi-leveled. A belowground service tunnel should accommodate — and provide immediate access to — not only water, gas, electricity, sewers, and telecommunications, but rubbish disposal and parcel delivery services.

The sewer will have multiple channels, including a storm sewer, a septic sewer and an industrial sewer. All sewer access points will have electronic sensors and shut-off valves to prevent illicit dumping of toxic materials, thus allowing efficient recycling of water and industrial waste products.

All items purchased will be bar-coded or chipped, allowing automatic sorting of rubbish according to the appropriate mode of disposal or recycling.

Transportation, either by underground tunnel or at the surface will be by small electric vehicles, robot controlled and powered by induction from cables embedded in the roadway. Travelers will select their destination from a touch screen map, then sit back and enjoy the ride. Vehicles may be privately owned or coin-operated rentals.

Population density will be comparable to that in Hong Kong: 30,000 per square kilometre. At 33 square metres per inhabitant, there will be a residential floor space to ground area ratio of one. Assuming that average building height is six stories, that would mean a residential building ground coverage of only 16%, leaving plenty of room for tree-line avenues, parks, playing fields, as well as commercial and industrial buildings.

All residential buildings would be cited conveniently in relation to business services, recreational facilities and places of employment. Intelligent placement of residential and service buildings relative to one another, the compactness of the city, and the use of light electric vehicles for transportation would mean a reduction of something like tenfold in the energy cost of personal transport.

Buildings will be properly insulated so that a home can be heated with a hair-dryer. Well insulated and properly designed to reject excess summer heat, air-conditioning would rarely, if ever, be necessity.

With twenty percent of the workforce unemployed or only partially employed, the reconstruction of Britain can begin without delay. The government should expropriate hundreds of square miles of derelict industrial land around such dismal industrial towns as Wolverhampton or Burnley for immediate urban reconstruction. It should then launch an international competition for the design of at least a dozen new towns. The competition should offer huge prizes and be open to all comers throughout the World including architects, university departments of Geography, Design, Planning or Architecture, construction and engineering firms and consortia. Winning proposals should then be financed through the capital markets.