Opinions: Could you give up your car?

A Royal Commission report last week aimed to curb the growth in car culture DAVE ALLEN, comedian: I'd give up my car for the sake of my health, due to the mental damage they cause. We get into cars and become lunatics.

SIR RANULPH FIENNES, traveller and lecturer: I make a living giving lectures, often in places where trains don't go, so I have to use my Rover.

Over a 10 day period recently I had to be in Birmingham, York, Clacton, Harrogate, Nottingham, Hinton-St-Mary and Ashford - the only alternative would be a helicopter.

DAVID JOHNSTONE, marketing manager: No way. I built her from a kit and I'd estimate I've invested more time, effort and money in her than I have in my baby daughter, to date. The baby's called Natalie and the car is called Marilyn. If it came to a choice between them, it would be a close thing, frankly.

KAREN ASHE, secretary: I don't have to because I wouldn't buy one in the first place. I say, pedestrianise everything] Vehicles should be banned from city centres, except buses, taxis and delivery vans. My last flat was over a busy road and when I blew my nose what came out was black.

MICHAEL BELL, restaurateur: You are what you drive. I would be very reluctant and sad to give up my 1952 yellow convertible Buick. When I drive around, people smile, wave and even taxi drivers are nice to me.

BEATRIX CAMPBELL, writer: I didn't own a car until I was 45. I would give it up if the means by which people get around changed. It's precisely because the car has marginalised all other modes of mobility that we've got this problem.

IAN TRAILL, chauffeur: I earn my living driving a rather nice Mercedes which isn't mine. I own a little Citroen, but after driving for 12 hours a day, I prefer to take cabs or buses. I lived quite easily without a car for three years.

LORD MONTAGU of Beaulieu: My whole business and public life would be impossible if I did. I have three for personal use: one for long journeys, one for everyday use and a small car for London. Cars are essential for life in the country. Increasing the cost of petrol would penalise those living in rural areas.

DR SIMON VALENTINE: Life without wheels for a busy GP is unimaginable, impractical and impossible. I have been carless for two months since someone crashed into the side of mine. I've had to hire, borrow, take taxis and walk. It has been an absolute nightmare.

LEILA RESTAN, chiropodist: God knows why I keep my car. I use it once a week and the rest of the time it's in the garage. I have had it for four years and it's got 12,000 miles on the clock. I live and work in London and I use public transport every week, I love it.

SIR JOHN HOUGHTON, Chairman, Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution: I would find it very hard because life would be difficult without it. But giving it up altogether is not what I'd wish either myself or others to do.

I would like us to have the option of using our cars less.

TIM RENTON, MP: Yes I could, provided my wife kept hers and there was also plenty of space for bikes on trains.

STEPHEN JOSEPH, director of Transport 2000: I occasionally drive my wife's car, but each time I ask myself, 'What would stop me from doing this journey by car?' The answers are better, child-friendly public transport, greater priority to pedestrians and cyclists, and home delivery from shops.

HUMPHREY OCEAN, artist: I am a great devotee of the car; I even painted a picture for the National Portrait Gallery called Lord Volvo and his Estate.

I must spend at least a quarter of my income on the necessities of owning a car; I'd almost go to 99 pence in the pound before I could be persuaded to give it up.

(Photograph omitted)

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