Boscastle Floods August 2004
pensioners and disabled people.
running when you need it.
Action is needed now
According to a new report from the International Climate Change Taskforce, we now know for the first time that climate change could reach the point of no return in just 10 years.
By that time, they work out, there will be so many greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that global temperature will, in the following years, rise so much there will be droughts, agricultural failure, and water shortages.
These catastrophes, if they are not prevented, will kill far more people than December's tsunami.
The reaction to the tsunami has shown that the people of this country do understand that we have a responsibility for people in the rest of the world. Yet still the government keeps on with policies that will increase the rate of greenhouse gas emissions, and make catastrophes inevitable.
The government knows the main things that need to be done to reduce emissions.
These are to rein in the road-building and aviation industries and to invest heavily in renewables and energy conservation.
Instead, it is doing exactly the opposite, planning to expand airports and build new roads like the North Luton and Dunstable bypass, and to widen the Ml itself.
Meanwhile it relaxed the cap on carbon dioxide emissions placed on UK firms under the EU emissions trading scheme that came into force in January.
The people of this country have shown that they care about catastrophes in the rest of the world. Yet only the Green Party is taking seriously the need to prevent the catastrophes that will be caused by climate change.
The Highways Agency is, as you will be only too well aware if you have to use the road regularly, widening the M1 from Junction 10 (Luton South) to Junction 13 (Leighton Buzzard) by adding an extra lane in each direction over the whole of that length (15 miles), and adding a further crawler lane southbound from Junction 11 (Luton North and Dunstable) for the uphill section towards Junction 10. This is illustrated in the diagram below:-
The Agency claim the following benefits will result:
We all know, of course, from experience of a huge number of comparable schemes in this and other countries, that such benefits are invariably short-lived. The long-term result is always an increase in traffic which negates the benefits in the area immediately affected and increases the traffic load on other parts of the road network.
The agency claims it will minimise any effects and where possible improve the local environment by retaining existing vegetation where appropriate .... The photo below of part of the route affected shows how in fact the destruction of huge numbers of trees and lengths of hedgerow will be unavoidable if the road is widened:
The next claim under this heading is maintaining or enhancing the character of the local area! If they achieve that it will be a world first for this sort of scheme. The fact that the next item they list is the use of environmental screening and low-noise road surfacing to reduce noise shows at once they admit there will inevitably be some increase in noise nuisance.
A further claim under this heading is reducing light pollution by modern road lighting design. For a fraction of the estimated £382 million of this scheme, this benefit could be extended to the lit-up sections of the entire motorway network!
The says the new lanes will be open to traffic in 2011. This means four years (at least) of disruption, day and night noise, lane closures and increased congestion - probably longer than the benefits in traffic terms will last before being negated by resultant increased traffic levels. This is a major cost, much of it suffered by people living locally, which is not included in the officially estimated cost of the proposal. Who believes it will be done for £382 million anyway? We've heard these estimates before! When will this government honour its promises to work for reduced carbon dioxide and other pollution by putting this sort of investment into viable public transport infrastructure such as railways and buses instead of roads and airports?
Read the thoughts of Green Party Flitwick Councillor Marina Torselli on this subject on this separate page .
Produced by Jim Fisher, 48 Swifts Green Close, Luton, Beds., LU2 8BS
on behalf of Luton and Bedfordshire Green Party, 13 Wedgwood Road, Bedford, MK41 7NW.
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