Recently proposed restrictions against fossil fuels in the United Kingdom are threatening one of the country’s most historical tourism sectors.

As the country movies towards carbon-neutral power sources in the country’s fight against climate change, one unintentional victim of the increased restrictions could coal-fired steam locomotives used as part of historical heritage railways.

As the country moves towards a carbon-neutral future, officials plan to shut down every coal plant in the UK by 2025.

Members of the £400m steam train industry have said they face an “uncertain future” and have asked for government help, as they fear the coal price rises that will be caused by the plant shutdown will put them out of business.

Conservative councillor Thomas Smith, who drives a steam train in Norfolk said: “Every railway enthusiast needs to write to their MP, and create a big stink.

“Britain is burning so little coal now it’s almost all gone from electric generation, time to tackle coal abroad and oil fuels at home…”

As the government shuts down the country’s few remaining coal mines, the price of coal is threatening to skyrocket over the next several years which places the industry of operating classic steam locomotives at risk.
While the government doesn’t seem to be intentionally targeting the heritage railways on any ecological grounds, the unintentional effect of the crackdown on fossil fuels could have clear unintended consequences for these businesses.
Ian Crowder, from Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway, told the BBC: “It’s all very well the government gives us reassurances but those reassurances needs to be in legislation.”

He said: “It’s the law of unintended consequences: no-one including government wants railways to be affected but if other coal use disappears that would be the effect. UK currently uses 12m tonnes coal pa – railways use just 26,000 tonnes pa”.

A Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesman said: “Our policy of phasing out coal in our power system by 2025 will not restrict its use for heritage railways.

The UK government’s negligence could create an uncertain future for the preservation of these historical artifacts. Here in the United States, historical railroads have similarly remained mercifully unscathed by the ambitions of the progressive left and this year’s push for the Green New Deal.
If laws like those of the UK were to come into effect via the GND and severely limit fossil fuels the effect could be similar and threaten American excursions too. These laws serve as a good reminder that the benevolence of the government comes with unintended side effects.
 
 
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