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A prominent news story yesterday was the prospect of stiff fines for Britain’s failure to meet emissions reduction targets, particularly nitrogen dioxide which causes 4000 premature deaths a year. The main source of NO2 is traffic. Radio 4 News quoted the government as saying, “We’re doing all we can”. I have over a dozen unanswered emails to ministers about the potential for carbon cuts from traffic system reform. Do they respond? Do they act? Do pigs fly? Professor of environmental pollution at Imperial College, Nigel Bell, says restrictions on traffic may be the only way to meet targets, “but politically that’s unacceptable, though Ken Livingstone might do something”. What, blight streetscapes with 1800 more traffic lights with their embedded energy, negative impact on traffic flow and emissions? Bell would impose high congestion charges too. It’s not just politicians who are rich in ignorance and poor in imagination.

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Tags: Government-lies, Professor-Nigel-Bell, emissions-targets

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