London Low Emissions Tax Grab on the Poor

The GLA has sprung a public consultation on us, trying to get us to agree to a tax on horrible polluting vehicles to improve the air quality in central London. It’s the kind of thing that gives environmentalists a bad name – a money grab in the guise of a clean-up.

The idea is that vehicles that don’t meet current emission standards, decided by age, will be clobbered an additional £12 on top of the congestion tax for driving through London. Who’s it going to hit? Not the commercial users (generally speaking) as their vehicle fleets are going to be fairly modern. And not the Chelsea Tractors – they’re too new. It’s going to affect the people least able to afford it – those with an older family car that they keep going rather than scrapping because either they can’t afford a shiny new one, or simply think the conspicuous consumption of the new car market is immoral.

The consultation has some interesting, but cooked, figures for the source of the problem. Even then it doesn’t stack up. But on a proper survey of pollutants like this one it’s even more revealing.

First off, a half of some pollutants come from brake, tyre and road surface wear. Taxing older vehicles isn’t going to change that – it’s got nothing to do with the engine. Then about a third comes from burning gas, and most of that commercial use. The GLA doesn’t mention this!

Then we get to the breakdown from vehicle NO2 emissions. The (current, measured) figures show that:

35% comes lorries (articulated or rigid)
28% is from busses and coaches
21% is from taxis
16% is from cars and motorbikes.

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Of the last figure, 90% of that is likely to be from diesel cars and 10% petrol cars.

Hmm. So which type of vehicle is going to be caught by the tax the most – probably the older cars, and these will probably be petrol (most cars are). Yet they’re responsible for only 2% of the problem.

Okay, if the GLA wishes to slap a £100 charge on coaches and lorries, this will work – it will hasten the replacement of ageing clapped-out diesel engines which will have done enough miles by the time this is introduced in 2020. People with older cars simply don’t operate this way. They’ll just have to pay up, proving this is just a money generating exercise.
The GLA was serious about reducing emissions, they should go for the low-hanging fruit – ban diesel taxis and make them go electric would save 21% at a stroke. And the same with the LRT busses (possibly not coaches). And the beauty of this system is that it won’t cost very much to run.

LGVs (big lorries) are more of a problem. They’re probably not going to head through central London unless they really have to, and the technology doesn’t exist (yet) to replace them. Emissions from these have already been reduced, but they still produce most of the problem. And they’re not going to be taxed, because they meet modern standards. It needs some investment in clever solutions.

The plan appears to be to raise this by taxing the low-income or occasional motorist (i.e. anyone with an older car). That’s not right. If you agree, and want to have your say, click here.

 

Horseburgers

A large minority of the UK population isn’t going to be at all surprised to hear horse DNA has been found in processed meat products – they’re already vegetarian/vegan or at a minimum, they choose organic meat products. The remainder either don’t know, or don’t want know. Either way, with the information on how animals are farmed widely available, I haven’t got a lot of sympathy with their current predicament.

But if you’re going to eat processed meat products, what’s so bad about horse? I’ve just been listening to an American campaigner on the radio warning that people go around the US buying old nags at auction and shipping them to Europe for food – horses that were probably pets (or from his soap-box, a race horse) and treated with drugs you wouldn’t give a farm animal such as phenylbutazone. He was particularly keen on mentioning this. Look it up – it’s an anti-inflammatory drug also given to people with arthritis and similar problems. It has side effects, including some rare but serious ones. Okay, so you wouldn’t want to dose anyone without good reason, but to get a dose from eating horse meat you’d have to literally eat the whole horse. And that would be one dose. I’m sure he was really motivated by the “horses are pets and we shouldn’t eat pets” attitude, but the BBC didn’t question his motivation at all.

So am I saying it’s okay to eat horses with phenylbutazone in their system? Well I wouldn’t eat it, but I wouldn’t eat any farmed meat, which is chocked full of legally introduced medication and kept, killed and processed in decidedly worrying conditions. Horses with shots of bute are no different to me. Think about it – if you don’t even know what species the meat is, you certainly can’t say much about where it came from. Actually finding a bit of horse in a beefburger sample changes nothing – it’s always been dodgy.

One thing you can probably say for certain is that New Labour and news media will be whipping up a bit of hysteria about this. They did it with the BSE crisis in the 1990s – remember that? Thousands will die due to eating disease contaminated meat? Of course it didn’t happen. They did it again when in power, in an over-reaction to Foot and Mouth, presumably to prevent the Conservative opposition playing the same trick on them. This is going to run and run (it’s bound to turn up everywhere following the inevitable further tests that are doubtless being considered right now).

If what’s in your meat worries you, become vegan (dairy products and eggs aren’t clean either). Otherwise, be aware that the meat processing business is pretty grim with this kind of thing going on behind the scenes all the time – and live with it. Can we have some real news now?

Police vs. Andrew Mitchell

Apparently, according to Andrew Mitchell himself, he swore at a copper who refused to open the vehicle gate to Downing Street for him. Sections of the left-wing news media describe this as an “attack on the police” at a sensitive time. The notion is clearly nonsense; it’s was an attack on one particular police officer who was, apparently, asking for it. Whether swearing at him was the best response is debatable. Perhaps formal disciplinary proceedings would have been more appropriate, but the PC’s views on it aren’t known. I suspect that in the final analysis, being sworn at for being out-of-order is preferable to being hauled in front of a disciplinary panel. The former course is more direct and achieves the same effect with the minimum of fuss. Least said, soonest mended. Except not in this case.

By all accounts the PC and the politician have apologised and made up, and this should have been the end of it. The fact that the “row” continues suggests political motivation. Trade unions (such as the Police Federation) are calling for his resignation. Well they would, wouldn’t they. This is clearly a case of “rank and file” police officers protecting their interests by pushing the government about, shamelessly exploiting public sympathy after the shocking murders of PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes in Manchester to characterise a row about right-of-way as an attack on the police.

So what’s really at the heart of it? Well anyone who rides a bicycle on a regular basis will have encountered a jobsworth copper (or more often, a PCSO) telling them they can’t do this or that. Had Andrew Mitchell swept in to Downing Street in a ministerial Jag, of course they’d have opened the gate, but some sections of the police treat cyclists as second-class road users. They’re not all like that;  a lot of my local police are out on bicycles themselves and have a very good understanding of the issues. But others drive around in panda cars and have the belief that cyclists have less right to use the road than they do. Actually, cyclists use the road by right and motor cars are there under license.

The police (although notably, not the PC concerned) have claimed that Andrew Mitchell called him a pleb. He denies this, and from what I can understand of his character, I’m inclined to  believe him. If anything, it was the PC refusing to open the vehicle gate for a “mere” cyclist treating him with disrespect, and he retaliated by telling them to “…just open the f*ing gate!” or words to that effect. Normally, I’d stop and remonstrate politely with any anti-bicycle copper I encounter, pointing out the relevant parts of the Road Traffic Act, what counts as a right-of-way and what a court might regard as reasonable, but I’m not a government whip on a tight schedule.

The real issue here is the police, and wider society’s attitude to cyclists. The BBC journalists, trade unionists and Labour politicians quick to criticise Andrew Mitchell’s outburst at a copper with a bad attitude are doubtless used to driving around the place in cars. Andrew Mitchell isn’t the one who’s stuck up – he rides a bike. They are.

I dare say that the news media will force Andrew Mitchell out eventually unless the lid is blown on the murky back-room operation perpetuating this “row”. The people should be electing our politicians, not the police federation.

Government “boosts” broadband at everyone’s expense

The government has moved to further line the pockets of telecommunications companies by relaxing planning laws requiring council approval before installing communications cabinets on public land. According to the new Culture Secretary, Maria Miller this sweeps away the red tape holding the country back. Ms Miller’s background as a advertising executive has obviously primed her well for a proper understanding of the issues involved in the telecommunications business.

The government’s aim, inherited from the previous lot it has to be said, is to wire up the country for “superfast broadband”, whatever that means. They reckon domestic users need at least 24Mbps for the UK to extract itself from the dark ages, and 80Mbps would be better. But does the Culture Secretary, or anyone else in government, know what 80Mbps means? Well in real terms, if you’re going to abuse the internet by streaming live high-definition video across it, you might use up 2Mbps of data rate. that’s 1/40th of an 80Mbps line. Okay – if you reckon that celebrity TV shows to people’s homes over the net is important to the country’s future this is still massive overkill. Video calls will use up about 1Mbps at worst and nothing much else comes close apart from downloading entertainment media.

Rt Hon Maria Miller MP, Culture Secretary
Rt Hon Maria Miller MP, Culture Secretary

I’m not saying that the people of the UK should be denied the chance to download music and video content at high speed if they want to it. I do question the government’s imperative for those who don’t want it to share in the cost of paying for it. If some people want high speed file downloads, those people can decide whether the cost is worth it and stump up the cash. If there’s a subsidy going it should be to promote 100% availability of a reliable 2Mbps service to rural areas – the data rate needed for business. We want to make it easier for rural business to do work, not city dwellers to watch TV all day.

Relaxing the planning laws is undoubtedly going to make it cheaper for the telecoms companies to install infrastructure  but it’s also going to make it impossible for local residents to object to unsightly and badly placed street furniture. You may feel this isn’t a big problem now, but this is simply because they’re going to think through the idea properly before submitting it to the local council in order to avoid delays if the council objects.

According to BT, it takes currently takes between four and eight weeks for councils to approve new boxes. this is not unreasonable. Are telecoms company planners turning up for work on a Monday morning, deciding to install a new cable somewhere and then having to sit around for a month while waiting for approval? I hardly think so; these things need to be planned well ahead of time and thought through properly. There’d be something very funny going on if the planning application was on the critical path.

In May this year, Kensington and Chelsea council did deny BT”s request to install most of the 108 new cabinets it applied for. The council’s reason was that the new cabinets were unsightly and that BT had made no effort to re-use existing locations or place them in inconspicuous locations (a move which would probably have cost BT money). The council cited the historic character of the proposed sights; BT’s bullying response was to declare that the residents of the borough would therefore have to put up with “historic” broadband speeds – it then packed up its little vans and announced it was going to install fibre in other boroughs until the Council came around to their way of thinking. Other cable operators have been able to install high-speed internet lines in the borough, so BT’s argument is very thin indeed.

Our new culture secretary’s first act appears to be putting the interests of bullying big business ahead of local democracy.

Scrapping fuel duty is the right thing – a greenie writes

George Osborne is listening to those who want to scrap the fuel duty increase that New Labour said was a good idea. Any tax that can be called green was fashionable to the New Labour Islington set and therefore considered a good idea.

It’s hardly a secret that I’m somewhat anti-car. There are far too many of them, most used for frivolous purposes and government policy has always pandered to the motoring lobby rather than good sense. However, motoring taxes are not the way forward. Why? Because the only people they affect are the poor, people in rural areas and those for whom motorised transport is a necessity. Blair and Brown thought it a good wheeze to tax the poor back on to bicycles.

Taxing cars based on fuel consumption or engine size is also anti-poor. The rich can and do buy new cars frequently, and therefore avoid the effect of the taxes. It also encourages car production, wasting natural resources (although promoting jobs/votes in the motor industry). Those using second-hand cars are the ones that suffer. If you can’t afford a new lower-energy car you’re hit with the taxes; if you can, you’re not. If you make do with an old car, helping the environment by not scrapping it but repairing and reusing it, you get taxed for your trouble.

Perhaps the poor don’t deserve to use a car. That appears to Blair/Brown/Milliband’s idea. I wonder how they’d like it if their cleaner couldn’t get to work, or the nurses at the hospital or the teaching assistants at the schools in the affluent areas in which politicians live, but the low-paid workers have to commute to. Its good to see a Conservative chancellor forgoing a good chance to make a quick buck in the name of being green and looking after the people.

Crude Awakening plans to block oil refineries

So who are they? Part of the international Climate Action Justice network, but the group currently blocking the Coryton refinery are probably just an affiliated bunch.

Crude Awakening Coryton DemoThis idea is nothing new – people have been organising high-profile protests against oil dependency for some time. But what is “oil dependency”? Basically, it’s the tendency of politicians to favour the oil industry against all common sense.

One obvious example of this is the motor industry, which enjoys protected status in order to furnish votes. Look what happened when the economy crashed in 2008 – subsidies to the motor industry to “protect jobs”. If Gordon Brown and friends were simply interested in finding employment for redundant motor industry workers they’d have spent the money on building something useful, like cycle lanes or wind turbines. But no – bail out the motor industry as people like cars, and hope no one notices how hypocritical this sounds from a New Labour twittering on about the environment while using it as an excuse to raise taxes.

Other high-profile groups involved in this kind of thing are Plane Stupid and Climate Camp , although this lot are clearly more confrontational about it. If you want the other extreme there’s the World Naked Bike Ride. These are all groups who have woken up to what “Oil Dependency” really means – pollution, congestion, war, greenhouse gasses and political dodgy dealing to secure supply. Would certain countries get away with what they’re doing if they didn’t the off-button the oil supply?

As yet, however, none of these are a political force to be reckoned with. Blocking an oil refinery will get the issue in the news, if they handle things properly, but will David Cameron sit up and take notice?

So good luck to Terri Orchard and her merry bunch (not all-women as reported in the press). From what I understand, Coryton is only the first refinery on the list, and they’re planning to cover a lot more if they can. If this proves correct, I’ll be glad I ride a bike.

Low Energy Lightbulbs are not that bright

Have you replaced a 60W traditional tungsten bulb with a 60W-equivalent low energy compact fluorescent and thought it’s not as bright as it was. You’re not imagining it. I’ve been doing some tests of my own, and they’re not equivalent.

Comparing light sources is a bit of art as well as science, and lacking other equipment, I decided to use a simple photographic exposure to give me some idea of the real-world performance. I pointed the meter at a wall, floor and table top. I didn’t point it at the light itself – that’s not what users of light bulbs care about.

The results were fairly consistent: Low energy light bulbs produce the same amount of light as a standard bulb of three to four times the rating. The older the fluorescent, the dimmer it was, reaching output of a third at a thousand hours use. Given that the lamps are rated at two to eight thousand hours, it’s reasonable to take the lower output figure as typical as this is how it will spend the majority of its working life.
This gives a more realistic equivalence table as:

CFL
Wattage
Quoted GLS
equivalent
Realistic GLS
equivalent
8W 40W 25-30W
11W 60W 35-45W
14W 75W 40-55W
18W 100W 55-70W

Table showing true equivalence of Compact Fluorescent (CFL) vs. conventional light bulbs (GLS)

So what’s going on here? Is there a conspiracy amongst light-bulb manufacturers to tell fibs about their performance? Well, yes. It turns out that the figures they use are worked out by the Institute of Lighting Engineers, in a lab. They measured the light output of a frosted lamp and compared that to a CFL. The problem is that the frosting on frosted lamps blocks out quite a bit of light, which is why people generally use clear glass bulbs. But if you’re trying to make your product look good it pays to compare your best case with the completion’s worst case. So they have.

But all good conspiracies involve the government somewhere, and in this case the manufactures can justify their methods with support from the EU. The regulations allow the manufactures to do some pretty wild things. If you want to look at the basis, it can be found starting here:

For example, after a compact fluorescent has been turned on it only has to reach an unimpressive 60% of its output after a staggering one minute! I’ve got some lamps that are good starters, others are terrible – and the EU permits them to be sold without warning or differentiation. One good thing the EU is doing, however, is insisting that CFL manufacturers state the light output in lumens in the future, and more prominently than the power consumption in Watts. This takes effect in 2010. Apparently. Hmm. Not on the packages I can see; some don’t even mention it in the small print (notably Philips).

However, fluorescent lamps do save energy, even if it’s only 65% instead of the claimed 80%. All other things being equal, they’re worth it. Unfortunately the other things are not equal, because you have the lifetime of the unit to consider.

A standard fluorescent tube (around since the 1930’s) is pretty efficient, especially with modern electronics driving it (ballast and starter). When the tube fails the electronics are retained, as they’re built in to the fitting. The Compact Florescent Lamps (CFL) that replace conventional bulbs have the electronics built in to the base so they can be used in existing fittings where a conventional bulb is expected. This means the electronics are discarded when the tube fails. The disposable electronics are made as cheaply as possible, so it may fail before the tube.

Proponents of CFLs says that it is still worth it, because the CFLs last so much longer than standard bulbs. I’m not convinced. A conventional bulb is made of glass, steel, cooper and tungsten and should be easy enough to recycle – unlike complex electronics.

The story gets worse when you consider what goes in to the fluorescent tubes – mercury vapour, antinomy, rare-earth elements and all sorts of nasty looking stuff in the various phosphor coatings. It’s true that the amount of mercury in a single tube is relatively small, and doesn’t create much of a risk in a domestic environment even if the tube cracks, but what about a large pile of broken tubes in a recycling centre?

So, CFLs are under-specified and polluting and wasteful to manufacture, but they do save energy. It’d be better to change light fittings to use proper fluorescent tubes, however. They work better than CFLs, with less waste. I don’t see it happening though. At the moment descrete tubes actually cost more because they fit relatively few fittings. People are very protective of their fittings. The snag is that with CFLs you need at least 50% more bulb sockets to get enough light out of them.

Standard bulbs produce less light than they could because a lot of the energy is turned into heat (more so than with a CFL). However, this heat could be useful – if your light bulbs aren’t heating the room you’d need something else. This is particularly true of passageways and so on, where there may be no other heating and a little warmth is needed to keep the damp away. The CFL camp rubbishes this idea, pointing out that in summer you don’t need heat. Actually, in summer, you don’t need much artificial light either, so they’d be off anyway. Take a look at document “BNXS05 The Heat Replacement Effect” found starting here for an interesting study into the matter – it’s from the government’s own researchers.
But still, CFLs save energy.

Personally, however, I look forward to the day when they’re all replaced by LED technology. These should last ten times longer (100,000 hours), be more efficient still, and contains no mercury anyway , nor even any glass to break.  The snag is that they run on a low voltage and the world is wired up for mains-voltage light fittings. I envisage whole light fittings, possibly with built-in transformers, pre-wired with fixed LEDs which will last for 50 years – after which you’d probably change the whole fitting anyway.

Ah yes, I hear the moaners starting, but I want to keep my existing light fitting. Okay, sit it the gloom under your compact fluorescents then.

 

Barack Obama uses BP as excuse to invade Iran

Could Barack Obama be using the Deepwater Horizon accident as an excuse to invade Iran?

I always had my suspicions about him, but to be fair I’d suspect anyone wily enough to convince the Americans to elect them president. Just look at who they’ve voted for in the past. Incidentally a lot of the British voted for Blair/Brown so it’s not a purely an American issue.

Democratic politics is all about image, not substance, and saying the right things in public is everything if you want to get votes. Many of my thinking American friends wanted “anyone but Bush” and would have probably voted for Kermit the Frog if the Democrats selected him as their candidate. And even that would have been the least-worst choice. But Obama rose to the top.

The last few days have seen Obama and the American news media jumping up and down about “British Petroleum” and how foreigners are responsible for polluting their Gulf of Mexico. I see little concern for the American oil workers killed in the explosion – just a rush to blame whatever foreigners are available at the time. Same old story. Time for a reality check:

  1. BP (not “British Petroleum”) is an international company, a large part of which is owned and based in American.
  2. The Deepwater Horizon rig (the one that blew up) was owned and operated by another international company (Transocean) – originally American and the division operating it was was based in Houston, Texas, USA.
  3. The engineering company responsible for lining the well (which I believe was the cause of the accident) was Halliburton – based in… Houston, Texas, USA.
  4. The crew of the rig were American.
  5. The regulator responsible for the safe operation of the rig was the American Government.

So why is Obama jumping up and down blaming a “foreign” company he’s decided to call “British Petroleum” for this, and demanding they pay for everything? He’s either pig-ignorant or he’s lying through his teeth for political reasons. Given that he’s a politician, it’s almost certainly the latter.

As he’s inherited a wrecked economy, getting a large amount of money from an international company is going to be a good thing as far as his short-term political career is concerned. It’s also important to deflect attention from the fact that his government licensed, regulated and derived a huge amount of income from this operation – even if it was set up before his time in office.

I’m no fan of oil companies, but why should BP foot the bill? This is an accident, with BP being one link in a chain of responsibility running from Halliburton to the US Government. The only commercial reason to blame BP is that it’s the link with the most money. Why are companies operating in America paying the government all this money? For sound regulation and the provision of services. It’s probably a fact that only BP has the knowledge needed to deal with this disaster anyway, but the US government is just as complicit as anyone else. They take the money and the oil, but have a big problem when it comes to taking responsibility. Nothing new there. America is, of course, the biggest consumer of oil in the world.

But what’s really worrying is that this new-age reforming “black” liberal politician is using the American people’s xenophobia for political ends – plain and simple. Anyone But Bush?

To recap: We have another American President playing to the gallery and blaming all the USA’s problems on foreigners to distract attention from his administration’s shortcomings. The Americans seem to be lapping this up, and the rest of the world is back to looking at American rhetoric in disbelief and bewilderment.

So where’s this going to lead? Is Obama looking for an excuse to invade St James’s Square (the location of BP’s rather small global HQ)? I think that’s taking it a bit far.

But wait – BP used to be called the “Anglo-Iranian Oil Company”. The Iranians still remember this, even if most of us have forgotten. It was associated with previous Iranian regimes, some of which are somewhat unpopular. From this point you’re free to make up your own conspiracy theories.

Personally I’ll stick to Occam’s Razer  – the simple answer is that Obama is just another stain on the office of US President, albeit nothing like as scary as the alternatives. So far.

Ted Relf – local hero

Ted Relf from Shadoxhurst (near Ashford, Kent) has got himself into a spot of bother with the local plod. His crime? Well he put up a sign warning people about potholes in the road outside his house.

Potholes are lethal. They’re bad enough in a motor vehicle, but for someone on a bike they’re murderous. If you can see them you swerve to avoid them and hope following traffic reacts accordingly. If they’re filled with water or it’s dark you’ll probably be thrown off, and you have to hope that following traffic will stop.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/wiltshire/8594682.stm

Mr Relf’s sign was a public service, but according to Kent police, someone complained. Why is it that police and council officials feel the need to act when someone complains? If anything, this guy deserves a commendation protecting the public. Face with a complaint about the warning sign, the police should have told the complainant where to go in stead of wasting time and putting the public in danger by taking action against Mr Relf.

The police claim they’re under-funded; this proves the opposite – they’ve just lost their way.

I wonder if they were acting on orders from the local council, who may not have wanted attention drawn to the quality of the roads.

Tracy Johnson – dangerous killer still behind wheel

Yesterday Tracy Johnson walked free from a court after driving into two cyclists at a roundabout and killing one of them; mother-of-three Sharon Corless.

Newspaper reports make much of the fact she was driving a particularly expensive Chelsea Tractor and had just come of a mobile phone. You get the picture – totally irresponsible on all levels. However, her defence claimed that she might have fainted, and the prosecution couldn’t prove she hadn’t – although their medical examination had been unable to recreate the conditions.

David Porter described the events for the prosecution:

“For reasons that defy and reasonable explanation, the defendant’s vehicle began to accelerate towards the roundabout. The vehicle began to drift from the carriageway and then collided with the verge and drove along the vergeway(sic) with the near side wheels on the verge.

“It travelled along the vergeway for approximately 50 metres. Having collided with the verge the vehicle then collided with Mrs Corless who was dragged underneath the wheels of the range rover. She suffered fatal injuries and died later in hospital.

“Moments later there was a second collision with Peter Corless who was thrown clear of the vehicle but nevertheless sustained serious injuries.

“The vehicle then carried on to the round about where it collided with a further vehicle – a Peugeot which was being driven by a young lady with her daughter.

“Fortunately they suffered no injuries. The vehicle then collided and came to a stop with a lamppost on the round about itself.

“Witnesses behind the vehicle said at no stage did they see brake lights come one; rather it appeared to accelerate.

“The defendant emerged from the vehicle in a shocked and dazed condition saying something along the lines of ‘what’s happened.’ Moments later she was asking for her mobile telephone, which she later said was to call her partner.”

Now, from what I’ve been able to read about the court case, it is certainly possible she fainted. However the family whose mother was killed have thus been denied a proper trial to prove this, and anyone wealthy enough to employ a good lawyer can just keep driving for a bit after killing someone and then claim they’d fainted in the knowledge that it won’t even go to court.

Either she’s lying, or she isn’t, and we won’t ever get to find out. However, one thing is telling – she was not banned for driving. This woman claims she’s prone to randomly losing conscious, and by all accounts, is still behind a wheel. Holders of a driving license have a duty to report various medical conditions to the DVLA, including anything that causes loss of consciousness, so that their license can be revoked.

Chelsea Tractor of type used (stock photo)
Chelsea Tractor of type used (stock 'photo)

So anyone in Mrs Johnson’s home town of Warrington spotting her behind the wheel would do well to call the police – she’s driving with a medical condition that makes her unsafe. She said so in court.

It may be that Mrs Johnson has surrendered her driving license; this wouldn’t make everything aright but would stop her looking guilty. I’d be pleased to hear from anyone who knows this to be the case.