Monday, February 19, 2007

Yes, I'd like my cake & eat it too

You can't have missed the furore over the on-line petition against road charging whose signatures at the time of writing are just bubbling under the 1.6 million mark. This morning the London congestion charge is being extended Westwards into Kensington and Chelsea. Again protests are being held to protest about this curtailment of the fundamental right to drive.

As a car owner, I don't accept this 'poor burdened motorist' argument. For a start, car transport is still much cheaper per mile that any form of public transport in the UK. The freedom that the motor car has given us is immense, but the flip side of the coin is climate change, poor local air quality and a breakdown of local communities - and we've all got to accept responsibility for it.

The BBC is quoting Transport for London saying "traffic in the original central congestion charge zone has fallen 20% since the scheme began in 2003". It expects a further fall of 15% when the new charge kicks in. It also says the toll has helped fight pollution, reduce road injuries, increased the number of cyclists and caused more people to turn to public transport. How can you argue against that?

What is happening is the theoretical concern about climate change is hitting hard reality. We are going to have to change, and loads of people ain't going to like it.

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