Letter: War of the streets

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Sir: David Aaronovitch (Comment, 19 November) fears that the car will win the war of our streets. Yes it will, in the same way that water will "win the war" of overfilling your bath and then flood your bathroom, if you don't turn the tap off.

Every time a new car or driver is ready to take to the highway, it has in effect to obtain permission from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority. The DVLA could be instructed to refuse to issue new licences until an old one is handed in.

By using the licensing system as a means of control, reductions might be focused on specific areas (via postal codes), on types or sizes of vehicle, or on age groups. Equally, the number of cars per household might be limited; the options are many.

If we are serious about the growth of traffic, we must all accept that driving and ownership are a privilege rather than a right; that we may have to wait for a while till there is room for us to join, and that we may have to withdraw in due course and make room for someone else.

We must also accept - the motor industry included - that unfettered acquisition and use of motor vehicles is different from, say, computers or washing machines. Most of the latter disappear into our homes and trouble nobody; the former come out on the streets and affect us all.