Letter: Newbury and the roads dilemma: why we must break with the Briti sh car culture

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Sir: For years, academics have been warning of the dangers of traffic exhaust pollutants. They have shown that vehicle exhaust is linked to respiratory and cardio-vascular diseases. The Government, influenced by strong car and oil industry lobbying, have been reluctant to follow their advice, citing that their findings are not conclusive. Yet, as we know from the BSE fiasco, it would be better to err on the side of caution.

Current technology provides us with the ability to reduce car exhaust emissions - lean-burn and battery-powered engines, catalytic converters, city diesel or petroleum gas for public transport. Unfortunately, their implementation is left mostly to the discretion of motorists or bus companies, just as in the early 1980s, regulation of cattle feed was left to the farming industry. The Government must ensure that another health and environmental time-bomb is not left waiting to explode.

Roy Preston

Christchurch, Dorset

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