London, 23 Oct 2000.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

ABD Warns Of Slide To Soviet Regime As Green Pressure On Blair Mounts
As some 'environmental' pressure groups realise that the public are increasingly unimpressed by their 'arguments', the Association of British Drivers urges Tony Blair to ignore hysterical 'anti-car' scaremongering". The ABD points out that anti-car policies have no justification whatsoever in environmental terms, and will lead to a bleak third-world existence where enterprise is strangled and freedom of mobility is lost.

"Tony Blair is facing a Poll-Tax-On-Wheels" says ABD Chairman Brian Gregory, "and it's being pushed along by the lentil munchers". Comments from the Government's sustainability guru Jonathon Porritt, who urges further 'anti-car' measures while pushing Ministers to make speeches in favour of higher taxation, have stung Tony Blair into an early response.

"This is the real story behind modern environmentalism" warns ABD Environment Spokesman, Bernard Abrams, "Greenpeace co-founder Dr Patrick Moore has raised the alarm by admitting that environmental pressure groups were railroaded by extremists, as far back as the 1980's, into pursuing anachronistic class and anti-corporatism struggles under a green flag of convenience. High indirect taxes and totalitarian controls now lie at the heart of 'green' thinking".

With around 90% of the electorate supporting peaceful fuel protests, the public propaganda war is beginning to fail the greens, who have hitherto enjoyed public support and trust. "That trust has been blown out of the water" says Abrams, "since there is now so much objective evidence available to disprove green claims in every aspect of car use today.

"They have nowhere to turn except to dodgy predictions from computer models which have been shown to be unreliable. The greens claim that hard facts or data are wrong for two risible reasons, either because they don't fit in with predictions from these disreputable models, or because there is a consensus of denial".

The ABD now lists - with sources - objective data demonstrating the positive environmental credentials of the modern petrol-engined car, and invites the DETR or any green pressure group to provide hard evidence to the contrary:

Professor Garel Rhys has summed up the future of UK plc if New Labour continues to wage fiscal war on the motorist: "Plans to tax and penalise car use are leading Britain into a former Soviet-style regime", he warns.

The ABD calls for an end to nonsensical 'anti-car' strategies. Car use is environmentally friendly; supports wealth creation; remains closer to the hearts, minds and aspirations of the British people than rabid environmentalism; and is far more essential to our quality of life than Tony Blair. In particular the following policy suggestions from the ABD provide realistic alternatives to the DETR's costly King Canute strategies:

  1. An 8p/litre cut in fuel duty now, which would have no impact on public spending in hospitals or schools due to Government revenue from price rises in the sale of North Sea oil (with VAT on top), windfall £billions from auctioning mobile phone licenses, and further £billions from stealth taxes locked away in the Chancellor's war-chest
  2. A detailed consideration by the DETR of 'Community Taxis', a concept which has seen parts of Florida do away with dangerous, polluting, inflexible, unreliable, expensive and unsustainable buses in a way which also provides a higher quality experience for passengers
  3. Tax concessions locally (Council tax business rate) and nationally (Corporation tax) for companies which achieve an agreed level of teleworking and/or flexible start and end times for the working day
  4. Ring-fencing of 100% of any future increase in the annual £37 billion tax-take from motorists to fund improvements in roads and public transport (the £37 billion per annum motoring tax-take will rise to £100 billion under Labour's plans for any second term in office, according to Prof. Garel Rhys)
  5. Zero road tax for new technology fuel cell cars

Notes for Editors