London, 19 Oct 2000.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

'Car Free' Communities - a Concept in Crisis
Attempts by the DETR to drive people out of their cars by promoting so called 'car free' communities are failing as expected, says the Association of British Drivers.
As 'car free' days fail to make any meaningful impact up and down the country, the ABD has found that another strategy of the anti-car brigade has come unstuck. The House Builders Federation reports that there is no demand for 'car-free' housing, outside central London. Schemes such as those in Canterbury and Edinburgh are a complete flop with no real interest from the buying public. Buyers continue to place a high degree of emphasis on secure parking when choosing a home, reports the HBF.

ABD Environment Spokesman Bernard Abrams comments:

"This is hardly surprising. Social re-engineering like this is bound to fail. There are no reasons, environmental or otherwise, to give up a modern car in favour of a shambolic public transport system which is more polluting and less sustainable than car use."
Town planning expert Peter Court sums the situation up nicely: reducing available parking does not reduce car ownership.

ABD Chairman, Brian Gregory, wonders why the Government fails to learn from others' mistakes, never mind its own:

"What the recent fuel crisis showed beyond doubt was that 90% or more of the population support a society in which mobility and enterprise are appropriately supported by the ability to run a car without winning the Lottery first.

"The notion of a 'car-free' community was tried out in Germany, where a former military base was converted into this type of housing. Unfortunately, the car-free people bused in to live there kept parking their cars on estates nearby, leading to many complaints from residents."



The National Environment Technology Centre has shown that an average diesel bus emits 128 times as much particulate pollution (PM 10s) as a modern petrol engined car, and 39 times as much NOx pollution.

The University of Tokyo has found that diesel bus engines under load (as when pulling away from a High Street bus stop) emit a chemical called 3-nitrobenzanthrone. At the time of its identification this chemical was, and probably still is, one of the most potent carcinogens known to science.

Automotive Advisers and Associates, Hilden, Germany, studied public versus private modes of transport and found that public transport consumes 60% more energy per person transported, and takes up 200% more public space per person transported, than private transport.

Cars are responsible for just 0.6% of total global carbon dioxide emissions each year, according to Dr D S Schimmel in 'Global Change Biology' (Blackwell Scientific).

Comment from town planning expert referred to was by Peter Court (press statement), a former consultant at the HBF.


Notes for Editors