“In a noble effort to save the polar bears from rising water levels,” says Rod Liddle in The Sunday Times, Cambridge officials have decided to create a £200m “green bus lane”. I’ve never been convinced that building new roads is hugely environmentally friendly, but this one is a “real belter”. It will mean paving over a 100-year-old “haven for wildlife” called Coton Orchard, and chopping down around half of its 1,000 apple, pear and plum trees. Locals are appalled by this “radical pro-polar-bear policy”, which is being imposed by “messianic local councillors” in cahoots with “trainee Thunbergs” from Cambridge University. Further plans include charging residents £5 any time they “drive their cars anywhere during daylight hours”.
Perhaps Cambridge is “simply trying to outdo its historic rival” in getting “as many of its townsfolk as possible to hate it”. Oxford councillors recently divided their city up with traffic “filters” that effectively ban visitors’ cars, and restrict locals to just 100 free journeys, after which they’re fined £70 for driving into another patch. Of course, these councillors are just mimicking the “oleaginous Sadiq Khan”, mayor of London, who’s forced his Ultra Low Emission Zone – a “circle of hell” charging anyone whose car isn’t powered by “fermented mung beans” £12.50 to travel anywhere – across most of the home counties. Cutting emissions is obviously “something we should do”. But I’m not convinced “bulldozing an orchard” or penalising “cash-strapped locals for daring to do their shopping in a car” is the right way to go about it.