London, 28 October 1998.
For immediate release.

Contact the ABD

Press Release

Transport Minister Reid in Asthma Gaffe
Further evidence that Government policy is driven by Green Hogwash
In a recent DETR press release (Press Notice: 838, 13 October 1998, More Transport Choice for Schools & Hospitals), the following quote was attributed to Transport Minister John Reid:

"There is a growing recognition that increasing congestion and air pollution are reducing the benefits of the car and may be contributing to the rise in asthma and other respiratory problems."

"Now the ABD has no argument with increasing transport choice," insisted ABD Chairman Brian Gregory. "But when drivel like this is put into the mouth of a Government Minister, then we cannot ever expect positive choices, only punitive taxes and obstruction."

Look at the facts about asthma:

Add to this the figures supplied by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution which show that car exhaust pollution will fall by between 60 and 80% by 2010 - falls that are already well underway as cars get cleaner - and the air quality monitoring published daily showing that levels of all the main pollutants are well within WHO guidelines already, and the picture is almost complete.

Congestion - well, there is something that does exist. It exists because of decades of underinvestment in our transport infrastructure, both road and rail, and a lamentable failure to consider where inhabitants of new out of town housing developments are going to work.

The bottom line - the 'growing recognition' of these largely imaginary problems mentioned by Dr Reid in his press release is no more than the wishful thinking of certain environmental groups looking for an excuse to pursue their anti car agendas. It is completely unacceptable for such inaccurate statements to appear in government releases.




Notes for Editors