You Have No ‘Right’ To Drive A Car Through Our Neighbourhoods, Even If It’s Electric | HuffPost UK
It’s time private cars were placed at the bottom of the transport hierarchy, writes Jon Burke.
“Not TV or illegal drugs but the automobile has been the chief destroyer of…communities,” the late heroine of human-scale cities, Jane Jacobs, once declared.
This sentiment – with which I wholeheartedly agree – is clearly shared. Following the prime minister’s announcement that no new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be sold in the UK beyond 2030, I tweeted that Hackney would be ready to respond with one of the largest electric vehicle charging programmes in the UK.
But outraged Twitter followers were quick to remind me that “electric vehicles will not save us!”.
The uncomfortable truth is, when it comes to the motor vehicle, we cannot live with them, but we cannot – entirely – live without them.
Environmentalists are right to be sceptical of the latest government announcement. Not only will no single measure address the major challenge of our ballooning land transport emissions, but this specific one will have limited impact on the UK’s ability to hit the IPCC’s “higher confidence” 2030 target of 45% fewer global warming emissions than 2010.
It will also, manifestly, not address many other problems arising from our growing addiction to cars. But, environmentalists would be wrong to presume that the proposal is entirely without merit.
“Addiction” might seem like an overstatement, but the statistics speak for themselves. In less than 30 years, the number of motor vehicles on our roads has almost doubled to 40 million, and this phenomenon has been accelerating, with around half of that growth coming in the last decade alone.