• Paul Wharton

The Local Environment

Two reports in last week’s Chronicle should alarm anyone concerned about our environment.

The 75% drop in bus-pass applications can only mean that more parents will be driving their children to school next month. Congestion and air quality are bound to get worse as a result. And those most affected will be the pupils themselves, as pollutants are concentrated inside cars and SUVs.

We can hope that many young people will be able to walk or cycle instead. But a great deal depends on the policies of local and central government. They should be taking steps now to make active travel easier and safer.

As your other report makes clear, Kent County Council say the right things about environmental issues without following up in a systematic way. How can they justify spending billions on new roads when they are supposedly aiming for carbon neutrality?

All the evidence shows that we can’t build our way out of congestion. The proposed Thames crossing, for example, will simply generate more traffic, with increased noise and air pollution.

Cutting greenhouse-gas emissions to zero by 2030 is a laudable objective. To achieve it, however, local authorities need coherent plans and a greater sense of urgency.

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