Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council’s environmental health chiefs have been busy thinking of ways to hijack the general concern about climate change in order to raise more revenue from unassuming drivers, and today’s Shopshire Star reveals the latest proposal – on the spot fines for ‘polluting drivers’.
The £60 fixed penalty would be issued by lurking jobsworths, looking out for cars at a standstill with their engines still running (though it won’t count at traffic lights they reassure us!) and “unnecessarily creating more carbon emissions”. As you can probably tell, it’s all a judgement call really, a subjective assessment of your intent (that’s whether or not they think you will be moving on in the short-term), and if their thumb points downwards then you’ll be landed with a ticket as punishment.
David Spode, who boasts the ominous title of ‘manager of pollution’, must spend most of his time dreaming up these little things in order to justify his very existence - though there’s some irony in the fact that if there was actually any chance of him making a significant impact he could well find himself out of a job. Whatever the case, he’ll certainly give the impression that he’s pulling out the stops to save the planet, and if he can invent little schemes that bring in some cash whilst coercing drivers to modify their behaviour (in a none draconian way of course…) then he’s bound to keep his superiors happy. David Spode wants to ‘improve air quality’, not penalise drivers and pedestrianise the town centre…
If this cynical money making venture, masquerading as a push to become ‘greener’, actually goes ahead, then no doubt hoards of other councils will follow-suit, keen to line their coffers further yet regardless of the effect it could have on businesses and individuals in a recession. And after one failed attempt to impose a congestion charge in Shrewsbury, drivers really must be starting to feel pretty unwelcome in the town.