Letter: Whitehall wedded to car culture

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leading article (22 August) is headed "Motor pollution is an issue for local will", yet Nicholas Schoon's analysis overleaf demonstrates that the major solutions need to be addressed at national level. John Gummer appears to have carried out a hasty PR exercise devoid of much practical action other than passing the buck to the local authorities, as in the Transport Green Paper.

Derek Osborn's optimistic analysis is also too hopeful by far: in reality other government departments are dismissive of Department of the Environment intentions. One only has to look at the strange interpretation of DoE policies which the Department of Transport presented as evidence on sustainable development to the Heathrow inquiry, as evidence instead that the DoT will not be moved from its role of industry promotion. Add to this the fact that the Department of Trade and Industry has been giving subsidies to car manufacturers to produce more cars, while trying to attract "inward investment".

There is no substitute for a comprehensive strategy to make the maintenance of our basic materials for breathing and living a first priority for government, rather than the pursuit of wealth.

GORDON GLASS

Director 2020 Vision Ltd

Bath, Avon

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