Fuel Tax "Just The Tip Of The Iceberg" Of Anti Car Measures
There Are Many More Anti Car Measures The Public Should be Just as Angry About
As Britain gets back to normal after the fuel blockade, it is increasingly clear that the public recognise just how high the tax on fuel is and rightly blame the government, who tried to hide the effects of raising fuel tax by doing it when oil prices were falling.
But the delayed effect of the fuel duty escalator is just one of the many negative measures designed to force the British people out of their cars by deliberately and cynically making driving expensive, unpleasant or just downright inconvenient. People are simply unaware of the sheer scale of the vindictive campaign being waged against the motorist in this country because nobody has shown them the big picture.
The ABD has been campaigning on all of these issues for many years, but we are small and lack the resources to effectively oppose a government funded bandwagon.
Instead of debating these issues in Parliament, both this and the previous Government have delegated most of the decisions to local authorities. They then penalise financially any local authority which does not do what they are told. This means that unpopular decisions affecting road users are taken behind closed doors. When individuals oppose these measures, they often find that local authority experts do not support them, but that the decision has been taken out of their hands.
"The petrol blockade has brought home to people just what life is like without road transport," says the ABD's Nigel Humphries. "Imagine how angry people would be if they realised that a travesty of democracy is taking place before their very eyes which is working towards the same end."
Anti car measures that the ABD oppose, and which should make people very angry if they only fully appreciated what is going on, include:
- Restrictions on parking space on new developments. Once, planning guidelines insisted that new buildings had sufficient parking. Now, they prevent them from having enough
- Cancellation of the roads programme, including much needed by passes and widening schemes that would have improved safety and quality of life for many people.
- Failure to invest £36bn of motoring taxes in adequate road and rail infrastructure
- Increased parking charges in off street car parks
- Introduction of on street parking charges and reduction of spaces through unnecessary parking restrictions
- Residents parking zones in excess of that required to allow residents to park near their homes
- Narrowing and obstruction of roads to create congestion where none existed before
- Inappropriate and often dangerous cycle lanes and central islands
- Bus lanes designed specifically to inconvenience normal traffic rather than prioritise buses and to separate through traffic from stopping buses.
- Threatened introduction of workplace parking taxes and road pricing
- Inappropritely low speed limits on arterial routes into major cities policed aggressively and without safety justification by speed cameras
- The misuse of safety to justify measures which are really aimed at obstructing and inconveniencing drivers by "reducing the glamour of driving"
Each and every one of these measures is ill considered, unnecessary and damaging to the interests of the majority of people in the UK. Each of them should by rights generate the same anger as fuel taxes.
It is time that they did.