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Green Corner




An A-Z of the environment & issues

by Peter Hatswell



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Tis for Transport


Transport and the damage it causes to the environment has been mentioned in previous Green Corners and it is one of the areas where the average person can make a positive contribution to our future wellbeing. Just thinking about the real need to travel and by what means rather than just jumping straight into a car or aeroplane can save lots of CO2 and despoilation of our countryside.

I have been an unrepentant campaigner against new roads ever since Dunstable was seriously threatened by the A5 Eastern Bypass in the 1980s. This scheme was removed from the Government’s Road Programme by political pressure and hopefully concern for the wildlife on Blows Down and Houghton Quarry plus public health issues that would have arisen due to a substantial increase in traffic through our town. I say ‘hopefully’ because it has recently been revealed that no matter how much environmental damage is involved, the Government’s formulae for calculating whether a road should be built is heavily skewed towards a built-solution rather than any other alternative.

It would appear that schemes are only withdrawn when there is a danger of an incumbent Government MP losing his/her seat. Some of us will remember the character Swampy who put real fear into the politicians because he showed his commitment to the environment and gathered much support from the UK population. His protests were perhaps a little extreme but at least helped to alert people to the disadvantages unlimited road building.

Up in the sky, despite promising lots of new jobs at Luton Airport and making substantial operating profits, EasyJet announced the closure of its Luton call centre. Here the maximisation of dividends to shareholders is obviously more important than service to customers and damage to the environment. I for one am pleased to see that the much vaunted expansion from 12 million to 30 million passengers per year will not now take place.

Quite how the new European and UK laws on climate control will affect our daily lives is still being debated but our travel options will certainly be limited. On the positive side, this means there will be less congestion, cleaner air and reduced damage to our countryside.


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