Transport Minister Reid in Asthma Gaffe
Further evidence that Government policy is driven by Green Hogwash
In a recent DETR press release (Press Notice: 838, 13 October 1998,
More Transport Choice for Schools & Hospitals), the following quote
was attributed to Transport Minister John Reid:
"There is a growing recognition that increasing congestion and air
pollution are reducing the benefits of the car and may be contributing
to the rise in asthma and other respiratory problems."
"Now the ABD has no argument with increasing transport choice,"
insisted ABD Chairman Brian Gregory. "But when drivel like this is put
into the mouth of a Government Minister, then we cannot ever expect
positive choices, only punitive taxes and obstruction."
Look at the facts about asthma:
- Numerous studies have shown conclusively that cars have absolutely no effect on the incidence of asthma or other respiratory ailments.
- According to the Department of Health's Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution, Asthma and outdoor air pollution, "Asthma has increased in the UK over the past 30 years but this is unlikely to be the result of changes in air pollution."
- Dr L Wallace of the US Environmental Protection Agency found that air pollution inside homes is up to 70 times greater than outdoors.
- Dr Martin Stern of the British Allergy Foundation has categorically rejected that asthma is linked to pollution; instead he links it to the household dust mite and its excreta. Modern living, with central heating, draught-free doubleglazing, carpets and poor diet, provide
the ideal environment for the dust mite.
- A report by the National Asthma Council draws exactly the same
- The heavily polluted eastern European countries have very low incidences of asthma. Conversely, New Zealand, which is noted for its clean air, has amongst the highest incidence in the world per head of population.
Add to this the figures supplied by the Royal Commission on
Environmental Pollution which show that car exhaust pollution will
fall by between 60 and 80% by 2010 - falls that are already well
underway as cars get cleaner - and the air quality monitoring
published daily showing that levels of all the main pollutants are
well within WHO guidelines already, and the picture is almost
Congestion - well, there is something that does exist. It exists
because of decades of underinvestment in our transport infrastructure,
both road and rail, and a lamentable failure to consider where
inhabitants of new out of town housing developments are going to work.
The bottom line - the 'growing recognition' of these largely imaginary
problems mentioned by Dr Reid in his press release is no more than the
wishful thinking of certain environmental groups looking for an excuse
to pursue their anti car agendas. It is completely unacceptable for
such inaccurate statements to appear in government releases.
LET THE ASSOCIATION OF BRITISH DRIVERS TELL THE PUBLIC THE TRUTH