Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Loving the car

Interesting to see the online critical responses to letter writer Philip Gannaway. He is concerned about what he calls ‘anti-car rhetoric’ (Soapbox: ‘Learning to love the motor car’, Post 5 Dec).
He would acknowledge I hope that there are many positive reasons for seeking a society with low car use, not least our health, safety, security, stability and quality of life.

The Council and Government should invest heavily in sustainable transport methods as a matter of urgency.

He would acknowledge, if he believes in reason and the real world (terms he is keen to use in his letter), that the best available science says that we must urgently make very large cuts in carbon emissions from cars. The damage done to our climate would, with other measures, then be lower, enhancing the security and stability of life on into the future. Bristol’s carbon emissions are six times the sustainable level, a large proportion of this due to car use.

With car use lowered road safety would be increased. Thousands are currently killed and tens of thousands injured every year.

Fewer cars on the roads means cleaner air, which means lower lung damage and much improved health, especially for children. Tens of thousands die prematurely each year due to toxic air pollution.

Towns and cities more focussed on walking, cycling and public transport would be more tranquil and less stressful places to live. The quality of our lives could thus be enhanced.

We devote so much time, money and land to the car too – why not free up a lot of this and put it to good use in other ways?