A chance has emerged to press the UK government into action over deadly pollution – and I don’t mean just the fumes from diesel engines. We must take it
Tuesday 8 November 2016 18.50 GMT
The government’s defeat in the high court last week was devastating – but I’m not talking about the Brexit judgment. The environmental lawyers ClientEarth sued it over air pollution for the second time, and for the second time they won. After trying every trick in the book to continue poisoning the British population, the government will now have to take action.
This will mostly consist of designating more clean-air zones, in which diesel engines will be restricted. After 18 years of promoting diesel, that’s quite a reversal. In several city centres, we will be entitled to inhale the attar of roses and essence of orange blossom that wafts out of petrol engines. Outside the clean air zones, you are politely requested to die quietly.
……. In other words, every motor vehicle, including electric cars, can damage your health. So why not pay people to replace their old cars with no car, by issuing the incentive in the form of public transport tokens?
Bicycles are mentioned only in passing. But given that over half the car journeys in this country are less than five miles, that cycle provision is cheap by comparison to other transport options, and that Britain suffers from an epidemic of unfitness, why not aim to make the bicycle our primary means of transport? Sorry – this is a one-way street. Significantly reducing the cars on the road appears to be unthinkable.