If you’re a reusable bottle-toting, recycling mad, environmental nut, you’ll be pleased to hear that Newcastle City Council recently revealed ambitions to ban cars from Grey Street.
These potential plans seem to be a practical step towards lowering the city’s carbon footprint and improving our air quality.
An Oxford University study published last year found that air pollution caused by cars and vans in Britain is costing our NHS £6 billion a year, corresponding with 10,000 premature deaths. Any steps we can take to reduce these staggering figures, we should.
Predictably, the news has caused a fair few grumblers to crawl from the woodwork into the Chronicle’s Facebook comment section. Although some rightly pointed out that banning vehicle access on the street would be a nightmare for disabled and elderly people who cannot manage Grey Street’s steep hill, others were more concerned about the disruption of their convenience. Parking in town would be even more impossible! Traffic around the city would be even more unbearable! While it would be all too easy to simply remind them that public transport exists, it would not help.
We as a society are too set in our ways and our primary concerns are comfort and convenience. We need to have a collective shift of conscience and realign our priorities.
The city council has a plan of action which they set out in their Air Quality Annual Status Report in 2018. Increasing public transport priority, encouraging low-emission vehicles and making electrical vehicle charging more readily available are good policies, but can only work if people are participating.
If you don’t want to see the pedestrianisation, contact the council and tell them you want cheaper, low-emission public transport. Tell them you would support city-wide car free days. Pledge to cycle, walk or bus it when you can. Don’t just moan in the face of progress.
Featured Image: Geograph
Last modified: 23rd October 2019