Thursday, 15 February 2007

Transport Authority for Greater Bristol needed

The Labour Government continues to fail us on transport. Five out of seven of their own targets, including air quality, public transport and carbon emissions have not been met according to the House of Commons Transport Committee that reported recently.The Department of Transport are apparently meeting targets on road safety and rail punctuality, though road safety campaigners and rail passengers may well do more than raise their eyebrows when they read this!

The committee went on to say that the Department of Transport had no "clear strategy" to put things right and seemed to have "given up" on improving bus services!

Given these facts I find it particularly galling that Bristol South MP Dawn Primarolo was on the same day reported as saying, "Who wants to live on the edge of a busy road?" ('Pupils do homework to oppose new road', Bristol Evening Post, February 15). I have to tell her that many of her constituents, such as those who live on or near the busy Wells Rd in Knowle, and people across the country are doing just that, often beside roads that her party had built!

Many have lived all their lives by busy roads and know that successive governments have let us down by not tackling congestion and air quality and not organising decent public transport services. If she goes to a recent study in the highly respected medical journal The Lancet she will find research showing that living near a busy road impairs childrens lung development. We know that the poor air we breathe has many toxic effects (http://www.britishlungfoundation.org/air-pollution.asp?lung=2.)

When can we expect the situation to improve so that our health and wellbeing is not damaged? There is no evidence that this will be within five years, given the current state of the Department of Transport, according the House of Commons Committee! The government needs to urgently create a powerful transport authority for the Greater Bristol area with the ability to do everything needed to get us moving around in safer, healthier, affordable and environmentally friendly ways or will be guilty of further letting our children down.

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