Fuming mad

Air quality has plummeted along one of the main traffic sewers into Brighton to such an extent that the Council has said no to new house building on the route: residents would be poisoned in their own homes.

Air pollution in Brighton - ©The Argus

Air pollution in Brighton - ©The Argus

Green councillor Ian Davey said, “It is staggering we have allowed air quality to get so terrible.”

Quite. What about the existing population of the area? Er, they’ve been told not to open their windows.

My questions for car drivers, the local authority and the Department for Transport are:

1. In a city well served by rail and bus, do you have to make your journey by car?

2. When will we have ‘action’ from the local Air Quality Action Plan e.g. bans on a proportion of the private car fleet on hot days, as used in Italy and Greece? Was it sensible to permit the withdrawal of Brighton’s sole park and ride service in April, and why are you considering lower city centre car parking charges?

3. Why are the premature deaths of 24,000 people in Britain every year from air pollution considered acceptable? What happened to the polluter pays concept?

What does our society value more: the freedom from entirely controllable threats to our health, or the so-called right to drive when, where and as often as we want without restriction?

In the words of the EC’s 2001 transport white paper, it’s time to decide.

Simon Field

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