London, 23 March 1999.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

Drivers' Group Condemns 'Misleading and Alarmist' Study
A recent Friends of the Earth report, implying that traffic fumes are causing London's pollution to rise to such dangerous levels that tourists and business is being driven away, has been condemned as misleading and alarmist by the Association of British Drivers.

The report completely ignores the fact that London's air is cleaner than it has been for many years. Pollution relating primarily to cars is well within the safe limits specified by the World Health Organisation (check the London Air Quality figures on Ceefax page 417). It is still improving and the government's own forecasts show that pollution in general, and traffic pollution in particular, will continue to decline nationally, even on the most exaggerated assumptions of traffic growth.

"This is typical of the way FOE are anti-car rather than pro-environment" says ABD chairman Brian Gregory. "They know perfectly well that nitrogen dioxide levels in London are improving and have no adverse health effects. The only noticeable transport fumes in London come from elderly diesel engines, with frugally maintained buses producing as much nitrogen oxides as 40-50 modern cars".

Traffic in central London has been stable for years and is not forecast to grow at all in the future, so the fall in pollution will be even greater in London than for the rest of the country.

The pollutant which FOE draw particular attention to, Nitrogen Dioxide, showed no adverse heath effects at typical urban levels in the recent report on the medical effects of air pollution. On the contrary, the particulate emissions from heavy diesel engines found in buses are currently under close scrutiny for alleged health effects.

Gregory continues: "It is not the levels of nitrogen oxides which threaten to drive away tourists, but this alarmist drivel from Friends of the Earth, who are past masters at manipulating the facts to create a scare story. They are simply trying to divert attention amongst business people who are rightly worried about the economic impact of the restrictions on car use that FOE are pressing for."

They should not be allowed to get away with it.


Notes for Editors