Today is World Car-Free Day. If Bristol is going to become the UKs ‘Green Capital’ it is transport-related problems that have got to be tackled perhaps more than any other. The list of issues raised by our current car, lorry and road-focussed, intensive approach to getting around is very long(not to mention flying of course, that’s another – related - issue).
Here’s a list of issues off the top of my head:
climate change contribution from carbon emissions;
toxic air pollutants and their health and wellbeing impacts, especially for children;
noise and vibration and the quality of life effects;
the footprint caused by transporting food over many hundreds/thousands of miles;
congestion stress, delays and costs;
public transport, cycling and walking investment relatively and absolutely poor whilst service quality is also lacking;
deaths, injuries and accidents;
contribution to obesity and other health problems through lack of exercise;
loss of green, open space and threat to wildlife and biodiversity due to road construction…
Given these very serious issues doesn’t it make sense to: cut the need to travel as much; protect and enhance local community facilities and services; go by walking, cycling, bus/coach/train (invest serious money accordingly); make the price of travel by all methods fully and fairly reflect their total costs (raise the costs of non-renewable fossil fuel, bring in congestion charging and reinvest money raised in public transport..); plan transport properly (create a Transport Authority for Greater Bristol asap) ?? Challenge the green talk we get an awful lot of and demand green actions and outcomes.
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