|London, 23 April 1999.
For immediate release.
The memo, from a senior officer in the Metropolitan Police, highlights road pricing, the deliberate obstruction of drivers by phasing traffic lights to "gate" vehicles entering the city, and the introduction of traffic calming and traffic reduction schemes by London Boroughs as potential flashpoints leading to civil disobedience and even violent disorder.
The new M4 bus lane, previously rubbished by both the ABD and the AA, comes in for specific police criticism, having "major implications" on both queueing and bottlenecks.
ABD Chairman Brian Gregory commented: "No democratic government in history has ever managed to enforce laws that did not have the consent of the public, but this government seems determined to be the first."
Traffic planning measures, which should be used to allow the public to go about their business safely and efficiently, are instead being used by both the government and local authorities to indulge an irrational obsession with hampering the motorist at every turn.
Unjustified scare stories about traffic growth and pollution are being used to justify measures that are actually prompted by an ideological objection to personal mobility, and are pursued irrespective of the effect they have on safety or pollution.
And often putting the police whose job it is to enforce them in an impossible position.
Brian Gregory continued: "When traffic regulations are seen to be introduced not to facilitate legitimate travel, but as a Meccano set for social engineers, it is inevitable that even necessary and useful traffic laws will become increasingly disregarded."
Asked about the issue of urban pollution, the ABD chairman responded: "The government knows perfectly well from its own air quality survey that pollution is low and getting lower, and in any case is primarily caused by industry and elderly diesel engines, not the private car".