Letters: Charging points in car parks is the way forward
Having read with interest the various articles in last week’s Telegraph about the concern of the impact of high air pollution in our city, I am prompted to write to submit a more pragmatic, if not cynical, view of what was said.
May I remind everyone that up to Thatcher introducing de-regulation of bus services in the early ‘80s, Sheffield and South Yorkshire had one of , if not the, best public transport systems in the country.
As a disastrous consequence of this decision, the volume of traffic in the city centre increased by over 20% and asthma increased 4 fold. Anyone who saw the ‘liver salts’ branded old diesel buses belching out plumes of blue smoke knew that it was not good for the quality of air in the city.
However, while it may seem a good idea on the surface to copy London by introducing a congestion charge, this will not necessarily reduce the number of buses, taxis or commercial vehicles, but only increase prices to consumers, i.e. the paying public.
Nor will it solve the problem of air quality around schools and to suggest to parents that that they should stop driving their children to school and particularly primary schools, is ludicrous.
Parents have an automatic concern for the safety of their children and without denigrating the importance of air quality, getting children to and from school safely is their number one priority.
This of course applies mainly to primary schools and less so to secondary schools where children should be encouraged to use buses if sufficient services are provided for them.
However, this is not going to resolve the situation for primary schools with the increasing number of ‘Chelsea tractors’ clogging our streets in the morning rush hour and new afternoon ’school rush hour’ between 3.0 and 4.0!
The solution lies with technology and with the banning of diesel engines and the introduction of electric vehicles, there will be a dramatic improvement in air quality far exceeding that by any congestion type charges.
You won’t stop parents taking their 5 and 6 year olds to primary school, if not their 7 to 10 year olds – be realistic ! - and suggesting banning cars from parking within 100 metres of school is crazy.
Can you imagine the parking problems that is going to cause and the increased length of time cars will be parked while parents walk the kids the 100 metres to the school.
Sheffield already has one of the worst reputations in the country for accessibility and parking, Since when did stopping cars and encouraging people to use public transport or cycles improve the commercial, business and cultural offers of a city.
Sheffield has a terrible reputation for people travelling into the city and find it impossible to find their way around, We all know of the benefits of Meadowhall versus the dire straight of our city centre.
Of course we have to encourage an increase in the ‘green’ approach to the problem and we should encourage schools putting up walls of plants in their environs, but depriving the city of vehicles is ludicrous to its prosperity and the introduction of ‘green’ electric modes of transport is the answer.
Face up to it council and accept that better parking facilities in the city with plug in charging points in car parks is the way forward as well as banning diesel engines as soon as the government will allow.
I live in Ecclesall where the traffic backs up to our house every working day of the year and where the sir quality would improve significantly by the introduction of electric vehicles.