Fri 15 Mar 2019 16.11 GMT
City-dwellers don’t face the public transport problems experienced in the country, say Tricia Knott and Susie Medley. Plus letters from Michael Cunningham, Cllr Wesley Harcourt on charging points for electric vehicles, and Bob Caldwell on cycling roads full of potholes
While I applaud David Halley’s decision to give up his car and “walk more and use public transport” (Letters, 11 March), this option is not open to those who live in rural areas where the distances are greater, there are no pavements or bike paths and public transport is continuously being cut. The problem is exacerbated by the government’s housebuilding programme which has seen mainly Tory councils approving huge new developments (2,000 houses around this small market town alone) without accompanying infrastructure. I fear that car-free nirvana is further away than London-based Halley might imagine.
• I agree with George Monbiot (Cars ruin our lives. Within 10 years we must phase them out, 7 March) and Bruce Ross-Smith (Letters, 11 March). However, there is an important point that is missing: we don’t all live in cities. “Close-clustered” is an excellent idea but difficult if you live in a village or small town. Getting to school, work, the doctor, signing on, shopping and meeting friends should be as easy in the country as it is in a city.
A radical way of funding and running public transport in rural areas must be developed in order to drastically reduce cars on our roads and make them safer for cyclists and pedestrians. For example, a network of small electric buses (what has happened to hydrogen power?) could run continuously all day linking villages, hamlets and towns, free to all.
• Perhaps ironically, the best thing about having a car is that it makes possible country walks in remote areas not served by public transport.
• Not every borough has stalled on creating good networks of electric vehicle charging points (Councils stall on adding charging points for electric vehicles, 14 March).
By 2020, Hammersmith & Fulham will have a network of more than 250 electric vehicle charging points. And by April we’ll have 70 lamppost charging points. Electric cars are the future of travel in London and to make it accessible, we were the first London borough to introduce the all-electric Blue City car club and first to offer free membership for residents.
We’ve faced exactly the same financial pressures as other local authorities. But we’ve prioritised growing our network of electric vehicles as we want to be the greenest borough in Britain.
Cllr Wesley Harcourt
Cabinet member for the environment, Hammersmith & Fulham Council
• A wonderful achievement by world cyclist Charlie Condell (Cycling record puts UK rider, 18, on top of the world, 12 March), and proof, if needed, that today’s youngsters haven’t had their sense of adventure dented by the seductive comforts of modern life. As a cyclist, albeit one who regards the UK as being quite big enough for my octogenarian legs, I was amused to see the similarities between his less-pleasant experiences and mine. Roads full of potholes, angry lorry drivers and snakes – this last hazard being the only one missing from my average ride! But perhaps I have that to come as species move northwards across the climate-changed planet.