CAN Cannot Be Serious
Congestion Charge Pushers Taken to the Cleaners by MART
Manchester Against Road Tolls (MART) are surprised that Clean Air Now (CAN) have chosen to rebuff our offers to take on the real causes of pollution in Manchester — the 'Big Beast' private bus companies. Instead they continue to pick on the already highly taxed motorist. Euro IV engined cars, for example, are extremely clean — it takes 50 modern cars to equal the emissions of a car built in 1970. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for diesel bus engines. Manchester's Piccadilly bus station is reputedly the second most polluted spot in the country (with the most polluted spot being inside the London congestion charge zone), yet CAN seem determined to compound Manchester Council's 10 year record of failure in tackling pollution by giving the green light for bus companies to continue to use the most polluting types of buses.
Buses and indeed any vehicle with a large diesel power unit that repeatedly puts the engine under load — like pulling away from bus stops — emit the two most carcinogenic chemicals known to science, labelled 3-NBA and 1,8-DNP (*). Buses are also heavy emitters of nitrogen dioxide and general particulates, both of which are respiratory irritants.
The carefully timed accusation by CAN that MART's billboard campaign contravenes ASA standards smacks of desperation. It is common knowledge that the chosen method of congestion charge collection will be a TAG fitted to each car windscreen. An onboard GPS TRACKING unit will replace this system as early as five years on, in order to switch to distance based charging. Recent embarrassing government leaks suggest that ANPR cameras used to enforce congestion charging will track drivers under the guise of anti-terrorism measures. The regressive nature of the congestion charge is reminiscent of the Poll Tax of the eighties and is just as unpopular. Congestion will be made worse using bus lanes to cause 'busgestion.'
CAN are, however, correct in their claim that the £5 figure used on the billboards is misleading. Manchester's authorities have stated openly that the £5 figure is set at today's prices. By 2012 the charge is likely to be much higher than £5. The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) has been reluctant to break down some very optimistic profit forecasts. Given this and the likely heavy overheads of the charging scheme, MART suspects that the toll tax rates will have to be hiked, just as they were in London.
MART and ABD spokesman Sean Corker said:
"The AGMA are clearly not convinced by their own loaded surveys, which is why they are refusing to hold the ultimate democratic consultation — a referendum."
NOTES FOR EDITORS
* Exhaust emissions from large diesel engines have been shown to contain the two most carcinogenic chemicals known to science, 3-nitrobenzanthrone (3-NBA) (Dr Hitomi Suzuki, University of Kyoto) and 1,8-dinitropyrene. In standard Ames Tests of carcinogenicity, minuscule amounts (approx 0.0000003 grammes) of these pollutants cause 6 and 5 million mutations respectively. These genotoxins are far worse than the banned food colouring Sudan 1, which gave a positive Ames test 'only in isolated cases' and 'negative results in the HGPRT, UDS and chromosomal aberration tests' (Federal Institute for Risk Assessment). In other recent tests, 3-NBA was found to cause DNA migration in human liver cancer and lung cancer cells (V H Mersch-Sundermann et al, 2003).
City's asthma alert
PICCADILLY Gardens and its adjoining bus station have been named among Britain's worst air quality blackspots. Readings have shown some of the highest concentrations of the sooty particles linked to asthma and other breathing problems.
Manchester Evening News
Traffic spies to join fight against crime
Manchester Against Road Tolls (MART)
Contact Sean Corker: 07-736-836-163
Notes for Editors about the ABD