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Electric Cars and Olive Groves

Tuesday March 15, 2022

Heaton Property VW ID3 Livery
Heaton Property VW ID3 Livery

I have never been a climate change sceptic, nor have I been an eco-warrior. I have sat on the fence and listened to arguments from both sides. “We’re doomed” vs “This is part of a millennial cycle”. Both sides had rational. Both sides were buoyed by social media. But now I have jumped off the fence.

This is not the result of analysing scientific papers. I don’t have the time. Nor was it the result of lobbying by Greta Thunberg or pensioners gluing themselves to roads. My change of view is the result of watching the six o’clock news.

Wildfires in Europe, the USA and Australia. Polar bears unable to hunt because the ice has vanished, catastrophic floods around the world and here in the UK, major storms with silly names (why they cannot give them sensible names like ‘Storm Damiano’ is beyond me). It is obvious, something big is happening and the bill is coming straight to our collective front door.

So, the bill marked URGENT – DO NOT IGNORE has landed. What can we do? What can I do? The ‘we’ is central Government and our local Council. Both outfits are great at soundbites, greenwash and virtue signalling. I am less than convinced by potential outcomes.

Government has a plan to replace efficient condensing gas boilers with air-source heat pumps because they are carbon neutral. The only time they are carbon neutral is when they are switched off. They are expensive to install and run. Electricity is still far from being carbon neutral.

Our Councils are obsessed with creating cycle lanes nobody uses and trumpeting the benefits of public transport while presiding over a creaking public transport network. This subject could be a whole new rant (sorry, measured and balanced piece) so I will cite two examples. The Great North Road from Gosforth Park to Gosforth High Street and Askew Road in Gateshead.

Both were functioning four lane roads. Our Councils decided to go green and reduce them to two lane roads. To accommodate cyclists and walkers. Once easy flowing inner-city routes are reduced to long lines of crawling traffic, pumping out fumes. Win-win for virtue signalling Councils. Bad news for anyone living nearby or using Smog Highway.

I am fed up with it. So, I shall act. The catalyst was my 12-year-old daughter Alessia. I was asking if we should swap our company cars for electric. Alessia said “Dad. Why would you not?”

We now have four VW ID3 electric cars. They are quiet, comfortable and with a range well over 200 miles nobody is concerned about an embarrassing conk-out at the lights. Alessia says I should plant trees. OK. My father planted an olive grove in Italy which now returns decent olive oil.

I shall write to the Council seeking permission for an olive grove in Heaton Park. We must all do our bit. We must not leave the problem to our children.

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