Parking and Public Transport in our towns
By Rachel Sadler and Merilyn Canet
Sevenoaks has invested about £15 million in new multi-storey carparks in the town.
These will serve the people who work here and travel in by car from somewhere else.
It should make a profit for the council.
But encouraging more traffic into town comes at a cost to all of us, poorer air quality and car queues that jam our rather narrow roads are the result.
At what cost? Increased pollution threatening the health of children and people with breathing problems, a public health disaster in our towns. Increased emissions at a time when we need to find ways to reduce the threat of climate change. It is estimated that emissions cause 40,000 premature deaths and cost the NHS £6 billion a year.
Liberal Democrats would use this money to improve bus services, encouraging people to move out of their cars and into public transport. This way school children, students , many older people and others who don't drive cars but need to travel , could benefit, as well as car drivers who choose not to drive into towns.
Electric powered buses are now available, very quiet and non-polluting, double benefits.
We must consider the needs of all people not just car drivers. It is shameful that our councils are presiding over a decline in public transport at a time when it so needed .
Improving air quality must become our priority especially in our towns to reduce the morbidity from Pollution.
For the future of the planet and our health's sake we must be more ambitious about reducing emissions and air pollution.
Dr Merilyn Canet and Rachel Sadler