Sunday, April 8, 2012

3164.txt

date: Thu, 18 May 2000 18:59:25 +0100
from: "Jeremy Bartlett" <j.bartlettatXYZxyzateway.net>
subject: Re: [norwichgreenparty] URGENT letter
to: <norwichgreenpartyatXYZxyzoups.com>

Excellent letter.

Jeremy.
----- Original Message -----
From: Rob Tinch <R.TinchatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
To: Norwich Green Party <norwichgreenpartyatXYZxyzoups.com>
Sent: Thursday, May 18, 2000 5:52 PM
Subject: [norwichgreenparty] URGENT letter


> Hi folks --- there was a reply to my letter in today's EDP, need to reply
to
> it quickly, here's my attempt. Comments please.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Rob
>
> Dear Sir,
>
> I read John Barnard's reply (18 May) to my earlier letter with interest.
> He's quite right that pollution levels in the UK have improved in the last
> century. However that is primarily due to the decline in heavy industry
and
> improvements in industrial technology. For transport, emissions of some
key
> pollutants per mile have been reduced --- but this has been partly
> outweighed by a large increase in miles driven.
>
> In any case, the fact that pollution levels have improved does not mean
that
> the problem has gone away! The Department of Environment, Transport and
the
> Regions states in its paper "Air pollution: what it means for your health"
> that "Daily changes in air pollution trigger increased admissions to
> hospital and contribute to the premature death of those who are seriously
> ill." In 1994 the New Scientist estimated that as many as 10,000 UK
> residents die prematurely each year as a result of particulate emissions.
> Of course, it is hard to determine exactly which pollutants are
responsible
> for which effects, but it seems that pollution from traffic may claim as
> many lives as road accidents (which cause around 4000 deaths per year) ---
> and there are also major non-fatal effects on general health and sickness.
>
> What is different nowadays is that road transport is the most significant
> contributor to local air pollution, responsible in the UK for over 50% of
> nitrogen oxide emissions, over 75% of carbon monoxide, and over 30% of
> volatile organic compounds, a category which includes many known and
> suspected carcinogens. The contribution of road transport is even greater
> in urban areas, as the Expert Panel on Air Quality Standards has
confirmed.
>
> Road transport is also the fastest growing source of carbon dioxide
> pollution, which is the primary cause of global warming. This is
> particularly relevant for a low-lying region such as Norfolk, seriously
> threatened by sea level rise, which the Climate Research Unit at UEA
> estimates will be around 50cm over the next 100 years.
>
> Mr Barnard suggests I should remove my rose-tinted spectacles: I think he
> should remove his! My original letter was not really concerned with
changes
> in pollution levels: rather I was commenting on the levels of congestion,
> which have greatly increased over the past 70 years. Pollution has
fallen,
> but if Mr Barnard thinks today's pollution levels are good, or even just
> acceptable, he should think again, as the above figures suggest.
>
> We've now reached a situation in which roads are filled up with cars,
while
> the DETR advises people who find traffic pollution makes breathing
difficult
> to "avoid busy streets" and "avoid energetic outdoor activities". But who
> are the streets for? Cars, or people? What's the point in City centres
> which some people are advised to avoid because other people try to go
there?
>
> We do need to move away from private transport and towards public
transport,
> to reduce congestion and pollution. If we do not do this, we will see
> congestion rising towards gridlock, and urban pollution levels creeping up
> again, as the European Conference of Ministers of Transport predicts.
>
> Prince Charles stated in his Reith Lecture last night that "It seems that
> when we do have scientific evidence that we are damaging our environment
we
> aren't doing enough to put things right, and when we don't have that
> evidence we are prone to do nothing at all, regardless of the
> risks." This is certainly true of transport. If we continue to push
more
> cars into cities, and turn our backs on public transport, you can be sure
> that some people --- the old, the very young, the infirm, the three
million
> UK asthma sufferers --- will end up paying the price.
>
> Yours sincerely,
>
> Rob Tinch
> Norwich Green Party
>
>
>
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