Letter: Drivers plead not guilty

Share
Drivers plead not guilty

Sir: I read with some concern the series of articles based on Christian Wolmar's pamphlet Unlocking the Gridlock ("You, your car and how to end the affair", 19 August).

It seems there is now a concerted campaign to force drivers off the roads into poorly funded and inadequate public transport. The freedoms brought by the car are increasingly being ignored and drivers are made to feel guilty each time they start their engines. Mr Wolmar's arguments appear to centre on dire predictions of worsening congestion and environmental damage. These arguments are, I believe, fallacious.

It is highly unlikely that congestion will worsen in line with the direct predictions of the green lobby. Eighty per cent of those eligible to drive already have driving licences. A 50 per cent growth in the number of cars on the road is thus impossible. Furthermore, recent surveys suggest that the number of teleworkers will increase to 3 million by 2000, bringing the volume of road traffic down further.

Cars are getting cleaner. A modern petrol car produces less than 10 per cent of the pollution of its pre-1993 counterpart, and emissions are set to fall by 50 per cent over the next 10 years without the additional legislation already planned. There may be a pollution problem, but much of the blame can be laid on the 10 per cent of road vehicles currently producing 50 per cent of the pollution. One bus, for example, produces more particulates (PM10s) than 128 cars.

To be able to travel at will for work and leisure, rather than when a public transport operator decrees one may, is a vital and precious freedom. This is being slowly removed through traffic regulation and now, it seems, through road pricing, closing motorways to cars, car park tax and higher fuel prices. At the same time, little has been done to make public transport more attractive to travellers. Thus far the Government's approach has been all stick and no carrot.

Successive governments have refused to invest in road infrastructure and now berate drivers for having the temerity to cause congestion. Few will use public transport through choice because it does not take them where they need to go, it is expensive, time consuming and highly unreliable.

We need to recognise that owning and driving a car are not tantamount to environmental desecration, but an essential freedom vital to the economy. However, drivers remain easy targets for political correctness and cynical revenue-raising dressed up in green clothes.

Isn't it time the drivers' view was listened to?

MARK McARTHUR-CHRISTIE

Association of British Drivers

Witney, Oxfordshire

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

For all his faults, Russell Brand is utterly sincere, something politicians should emulate

Janet Street-Porter
 

Never underestimate the power of the National Trust

Boyd Tonkin
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss