London, 17 Jan 2000.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

Italiano / Italian
The Association of British Drivers Says: Can Milan's Ban
News that Milan is 'telling cars to stay out so that people can breathe' is yet another illustration of the unsubstantiated claims surrounding car emissions and health. The ABD argues that this advice belongs in the trash can of failed environmental scaremongering.
Following a lacklustre French campaign involving city car bans targeted alternately at vehicles with odd and even registration numbers, this latest example of anti-car hysteria will do nothing to improve health and may well cause more damage as a result of the types of transport needed to carry people and goods in the absence of cars.

Public transport, an essential part of any city's transport infrastructure, is nevertheless more polluting and less sustainable than private transport, says the ABD. Even taking into account the greater passenger carrying capacity of public transport vehicles, emissions are higher (National Environment Technology Centre, UK) and total primary energy consumption greater (by up to 60%: Automotive Advisers & Associates, Germany) than private transport.

In the UK, causal links between vehicle emissions and breathing disorders such as bronchitis and asthma have been dismissed by everybody except minority anti-car pressure groups. The National Asthma Council, British Allergy Foundation, and several learned medical experts have each spoken out against the folly of claiming such a link:

Professor Emeritus Stanley Feldman (Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School 1995) has made these public comments (letter to London Weekly Times 03/02/1995):

"In the last 40 years the level of air pollution has decreased dramatically. Nevertheless the incidence of asthma has risen."

"Childhood asthma is a bigger problem in the green fields (than in cities)"

" far as the scientific evidence goes, pollution does not cause bronchitis or asthma, nor does wearing a so-called anti-pollution mask do anything except identify the wearer as a sucker"

The situation is summed up well by Dr Kenneth Kalman, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health Study on the Causes of Asthma:
"Air pollution does not cause asthma ... there is no correlation between levels of vehicle emissions and asthma incidence."
ABD's Spokesman on Science & Environmental issues, Bernard Abrams, comments:
"The lack of any connection between the very low level of emissions from modern cars and asthma is nowhere better illustrated than the remote island of Tristan da Cunha in the south atlantic. The isolation and air quality of the island's community are unparalleled, yet medics there report that virtually every inhabitant has asthma.

Any attempt to limit freedom of choice of transport modes, and ultimately freedom of movement, by abusing public concerns over health issues is merely a diversionary tactic. Attempts to encourage use of filthy polluting public transport will inevitably backfire. The reasons behind such moves concern socio-political ideology, not health and safety."

The ABD says, to the people of Milan and citizens throughout Europe:
 "Don't let them drive you out of your car!"

Notes for Editors

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