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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Air Quality and Traffic Policy

Paris has felt forced to introduce emergency traffic measures to combat poor air quality.  Essentially, they all aim to reduce car use.  This could all be done much more conveniently if it were done gradually.  I have pointed out before that improving air quality can be done through policy that promotes sustainable transport.

Unfortunately in London where we have similar problems, we seem to be going in the wrong direction.  Boris Johnson has been intent on making public transport more and more expensive compared to car use.  Early on in his administration he resisted air quality measures.  Eric Pickles joins with the same populist car dependency agenda by seeking to restrict parking enforcement in various ways (which in some ways can be to the detriment of car drivers as well as adding to poor air quality). 

In Brent, the Borough's strong support for air quality has been knocked back through various tinkerings with parking charges.  The recent Budget was passed with provision for changes to parking charges, but they seemed to me to lack coherence.  Certainly, they did not strike me as aiming to increase sustainability.  Some suggestions, like the increase in visitor fees in CPZs, seemed so high as to jeopardise public acceptance of CPZs at all. 

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