Open Letter to Michael Palin and Transport 2000
T2000 Transport Myths In Top Gear
Dear Mr Palin
In view of recent attacks on the popular BBC TV programme 'Top Gear' by Transport 2000, in which — amongst other things — it was suggested that there should be a more environmentally sound and safety conscious approach, involving test drives of buses rather than Ferraris, we have four questions for you to answer:
1. Transport 2000 claims that public transport is environmentally friendly, yet exhaust emissions from the large diesel engines in buses and trains have been shown to contain the two most carcinogenic chemicals known to science. These are far worse than the banned food colouring Sudan 1. Researchers point out that one is very likely to be the cause of thousands of lung cancer cases in urban areas. Petrol or small diesel engines as found in cars do not have this specific problem. So, why should 620 foodstuffs be taken from shelves in the High Street shops of towns and cities, when buses and trains continue to emit far more genotoxic carcinogens in High Streets and railway stations?
2. In terms of energy (fuel) consumption as well as the resulting emissions, public transport once again has to concede to the car. Professor Roger Kemp of Lancaster University studied the energy consumption of trains compared to cars, and found that trains, such as inter-city services, are not as energy efficient. This result prompted the Editor of Modern Railways magazine (the ironically named Mr Ford) to write:
"I know this will generate howls of protest, but at present a family of four going by car is about as environmentally friendly as you can get".
This finding is in keeping with a result from Automotive Advisers and Associates of Hilden, Germany, that compared to cars, public transport consumes 60% more energy per person transported and takes up 200% more public space per person transported. So, why does Transport 2000 claim that public transport is more environmentally friendly than the car?
3. In terms of safety, buses and coaches kill 13 times more pedestrians per mile travelled than 'white van man', and 10 times more than cars including 4 x 4s, according to data from the DfT. So, why does Transport 2000 suggest that cars and motorists are unsafe while championing buses?
4. The ABD is funded by subscriptions and donations from members. What are the sources of funding for the Transport 2000 organisations? Where can details of funding sources and supporting or link organisations be found on your website?
We look forward to receiving your detailed reply.
The Association of British Drivers
NOTE FOR EDITORS
Exhaust emissions from large diesel engines have been shown to contain the two most carcinogenic chemicals known to science, 3-nitrobenzanthrone (3-NBA) (Dr Hitomi Suzuki, University of Kyoto) and 1,8-dinitropyrene. In standard Ames tests of carcinogenicity, where only 0.0000003 grammes of these pollutants caused 6 and 5 million mutations respectively These genotoxins are far worse than the banned food colouring Sudan 1, which gave a positive Ames test 'only in isolated cases' and 'negative results in the HGPRT, UDS and chromosomal aberration tests' (Federal Institute for Risk Assessment). In other recent tests, 3-NBA was found to cause DNA migration in human liver cancer and lung cancer cells. The research report concluded (V H Mersch-Sundermann et al, 2003) that 3-NBA is a genotoxic carcinogen.
Transport 2000 website