London, 6 Sep 2001.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

Report Explodes Myths On Transport & Health
'Few traffic reduction measures are justifiable on health grounds' says report
A report titled 'Transport and Health in London', compiled for the NHS Executive, shows that official bodies are implementing inappropriate transport policies in the face of misleading environmental scaremongering.

Commenting on statements in 'Greenprint for London' (a document published by the Environment Agency) that "The number of cars in London's roads will double over the next 25 years. Road transport is currently responsible for 90% of London's air pollution", report authors Glaister, Graham and Hoskins have this to say (page 7): "Both of these statements are highly misleading".

They add that traffic in London is growing slowly or not at all, and that transport is not responsible for anything like 90% of air pollution.

ABD Environment Spokesman, Bernard Abrams, comments:

"This report shows that policymakers have got it badly wrong. The levels of air pollution frequently claimed are over-estimates, sources are wrongly attributed, and health costs are vastly smaller than the myths commonly used to justify hard line policies. These are usually anti-car alone, when buses, for example, are far worse polluters (1) and are less sustainable (2)."
The report's authors, of the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London, point out that anti-car propaganda has led public opinion in the wrong direction (page 3), adding on page 7:
"Some individuals and organisations feel able to be cavalier with the facts in order to make a case".
ABD Chairman, Brian Gregory, concludes:
"Coupled to the conclusions drawn by a study from the Transport Research Laboratory (3), it is now clear for all to see that the social and economic disadvantages of penalising motorists in London through congestion charging have no basis in terms of air quality, health or traffic levels. Congestion in London is not due to increases in traffic but wrong-minded policy making designed to make road use slower and unpleasant. "Transport policy needs New Century ideas not Old Labour ideology. Ken Livingstone needs to wake up and smell the air - but not near a bus -and tell Londoners the truth about air quality, which is better now than at any time since 1585."


(1) National Environment Technology Centre data shows that an average diesel bus emits as much particulate pollution as 128 cars, and as much NOx gases as 39 cars -while Japanese research found what was, at the time of its identification, the most carcinogenic chemical known (3-nitrobenzanthrone) in diesel bus exhaust emissions

(2) A report from Automotive Advisers and Associates, Hilden, shows that public transport consumes 60% more energy per person transported than cars, and takes up 200% more public space

(3) TRL 431, a review of options for a Low Emission Zone in London, concludes "Restrictions on cars on air quality grounds have been shown not to be warranted by this study"

Read the full report from the Department of Health website
(PDF document, Adode Acrobat required)
Transport & Health in London

Notes for Editors