During 1999, there were just over 235,000 personal injury accidents on British roads resulting in 320,000 casualties according to statistics published by what was then called the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR). In other words, 3,599 deaths, 39,122 seriously injured, and 277,765 slight injuries.
In addition, World Health Organisation (WHO) research shows that car fumes cause 300,000 extra cases of bronchitis in children, and 15,000 extra hospital admissions for heart disease made worse by the pollution.
They calculate that the cost of dealing with all this is about £16bn a year. Also, the BMJ recently published research which suggested that the doubling of the numbers of children suffering from Asthma in the last 20 years was in part attributable to higher levels of pollutants caused by vehicle congestion.
The CBI estimates that congestion costs British business £15billion a year in lost income.
So, as a non-car owner, frankly I am laughing all the way about you sad little metal box owners that you have to pay your congestion charge. Ha ha ha, you all deserve it- I hope that Ken bleeds your incomes dry. Bring it on, bring it on.
OK - whilst we are at it, why don't we go back to crawling on all fours? Depending on your slant, you have to remember that good communications and transport are key to promoting growth, which in theory should make us all better off (I don't want to start a debate on egality and fairness tho - so please humour me on that point).
I use my car about once every two weeks (generally to move very heavy things around that I physically cannot lift), and I go out of my way to use the tube and buses as I already find it prohibitively expensive to park (or even find somewhere to park). That said, transport is shite in central london and we must be careful not to put the cart before the horse.
Red "philanderer" Ken unfortunately has had a bit of a rush to the head (no doubt a few more glasses of sauvingnon blanc - fancy a swing mate?) and decided that a stupid, paper based system is the way forward. Good for Capita, not good for the rest of us. If we are going to have a congestion charging scheme - which I am not fundamentally opposed to - it should be a sensible one, and not one that is rushed in with bits of ticker tape stuck in your car. Put it this way - I live in SE1, so its actually cheaper for me to buy a weekly pass than a single daily one (you won't get a discount on a daily pass, but you do on a weekly pass). So well done Ken, you've actually made it RELATIVELY cheaper for me to use my vehicle. Once you've got your fixed cost of you pass bought, you might as well go mental and drive all over the shop.
What I would suggest is a technology based system as in place in San Francisco or Singapore. Why is this so clever? because it allows the authorities to alter prices to reflect demand - the price goes up in the morning (commuters, mums dropping kids off) and in the evening, but promotes commerce during the day when everyone's at work. Plus I would expect it would be less subject to error and cheaper than Capita taking pictures of us in our cars.
MM said: "During 1999, there were just over 235,000 personal injury accidents on British roads resulting in 320,000 casualties according to statistics published by what was then called the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR). In other words, 3,599 deaths, 39,122 seriously injured, and 277,765 slight injuries. "
What please, has this to do with congestion charging? How many of those accidents occurred within the proposed congestion scheme area? How many of those accidents were caused by cyclists riding on pavements or pedestrians wandering into the path of vehicles?
Do you realise that this scheme will only reduce motor traffic within the area by 15% ? Leaving 85% of diesel-powered taxis, heavy goods and public service vehicles to pollute us all and mow down pedestrians/cyclists
You've just reminded me about another absurdity of the proposed congestion charges - the exemption for LPG vehicles (or discount - I don't think they've made their mind up). Talk about cross purposes - what is this a congestion tax or an environmental tax. Like all of Ken's work so far, demonstrates a clear absence of purpose / defined objective. The man's a moron.
MM, as the problems of traffic fumes is one that can cause this placid soul to turn into a screaming banshee, your figures on children with bronchitis bring it all home and make me realise that it's worth while complaining both officially and unofficially about drivers leaving vehicles running..I live in Bartholomew Street, about fifteen years ago it was a quiet residential street, then permission was given for a cafe...7 days a week, from 5.45am in the morning. we have lorries, buses, commercial vehicles of all descriptions,
Someone on the council traffic warden side must tip the cafe off when the street is going to be visited by senior traffic wardens , as I have watched new wardens go down a street that has only one or two parked vehicles and when they disappear around the corner all the vehicles come back! think about it when you get a ticket for parking on a clear unblocked road at 6.10pm ( after the cafe closes!) like my neighbours sister visiting her from Leeds did!
I have no problem with that as they are all entitiled to stop and eat...and they are gone by the evening...but some ***!!! think they can stop, go in the shop for a paper, go in cafe collect teea etc., and then sit in the vehicle consuming same.
I go out and ask none to politely sometimes and tell them to switch off.....why can not Southwark or the government introduce laws that make it illegal to sit IN your vehicle with the engine running as well as when your not in it?
incidentally, my cousin moved from the Old Kent Road, Avondale square with her husband and two young children to Derbyshire, and where as they were both asthmatic in London, in the six months they have left, their health has improved 100%.
reading all that back I think I have waffled on about that before ...sorry..;-(
Venerable Jan said: "my cousin moved from the Old Kent Road, Avondale square with her husband and two young children to Derbyshire, and where as they were both asthmatic in London, in the six months they have left, their health has improved 100%."
My mum comes from New Mills in Derbyshire. Both she and her late sister suffered from chronic bronchitis for most of their lives. Always blamed it on the damp air. The humidity is why the calico mills where my ancestors laboured were sited there.
I suspect that asthma, hay fever and other such diseases have an allergy element which can be picked up very early in life. A move to a different environment can effect a complete cure. I wonder if if their asthma will re-appear whenever your cousin's tots visit London again.
Why are the urban chest diseases on the increase during the same period when lead-free petrol and catalytic converters have been introduced? I postulate that it is particulates rather than acid gasses that are the cause and that we not squarely addressed the problem. Diesel engines are much more dangerous to our health and are much less regulated.
We must concentrate on removing a much higher proportion of all types of vehicles from our streets than the current proposals. Separate traffic from places where people live, work and shop. And concentrate on removing traffic queues instead of creating them with bus lanes everywhere.
How about a daytime traffic exclusion zone of 200 metres radius around each of our schools? How many little lives would that save? Would cut down on the school runners too!
rock on congestion charge. we need REAL bike lanes, with curbs and only the minimum of private cars.
and in regards to pedestrians wandering in front of cars, that is such crap. pedestrians always have the right of way. i'm so sick of being cut off whilst crossing the street - and the driver assumes you'll let them go - when common courtesy says the pedestrian should go.
i've never seen this in any other country but England.
And why not have stop signs BEFORE the intersection rather than letting drivers pull all the way out and frighten pedestrians.
So you are the one. Can I just point out that is a very long time since I heard of a car being run over by a pedestrian. Take care of those nine lives buddy, and take that dam' mobile phone out of your ear when you're playing with the traffic.
I don't want cycle lanes. I want cycle streets! With zebra crossings and traffic lights and everything (OK cyclists, let me explain that traffic lights are those things on street corners you ignore).
I love traffic. It's the lifeblood of the city. Just want to keep trucks away from cycles away from walkers. Charging commuters a fiver will achieve buggerall. I'm getting an LPG tank for my limo. Oh, and by the way, I walk around SE1 too.