Letter: Bizarre to single out super-unleaded fuel

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The Independent Online
Sir: It is more than 10 years since the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution recommended the banning of lead as a petrol additive, a recommendation that was accepted immediately by the Thatcher government.

Since then, the case against lead as a neurotoxin has strengthened and lead levels in the population have fallen.

Reversing this policy would therefore require evidence of an extraordinary magnitude and it is abundantly clear that the Transport Committee has failed to produce it ('MPs urge ban on 'dangerous' unleaded fuel', 26 October).

What it has produced is a confused and illogical report which recommends motorists to convert from unleaded to four- star leaded petrol, even though there is no discernible difference in the composition of the two fuels, apart from the absence of lead. Furthermore, why did the committee fail to mention diesel, a fuel which is known to be considerably more carcinogenic than petrol and which poses the greatest hazard to health in our city areas?

As someone who campaigned for 10 years against leaded fuel and other forms of air pollution, I have no wish to defend emissions from vehicles that are not fitted with catalytic converters, but it is completely bizarre for the committee to have singled out super-unleaded as dangerous, when the alternative fuels are even more dangerous.

Yours faithfully, R. RUSSELL JONES St Thomas' Hospital London, SE1 26 October The writer is a former chairman of Clear, the Campaign for Lead-Free Air.