What would London be without cars? Well, imagine James Bond on a doubledecker instead of driving an Aston Martin; London, like most capital cities, is full of drivers. And we need more.
But it seems that jumping in the car and going for a spin doesn’t appeal to everyone. Last week, around 100 green activists staged a die-in outside the Department of Transport in central London. The protesters, all cyclists, were calling for cleaner air and demanding that the new mayor do something about it.
As protesters brandishing ‘stop killing cyclists’ placards wandered around in their high-vis jackets and panniers, it was hard not to be a little sceptical. The new green fanaticism, which hates everything mechanised and embraces all things natural, is intolerant. Rather than putting forward better ideas for how London could expand and accommodate both cyclists and drivers, these greens demand that London drivers be curtailed. ‘The drivers should stay indoors’ one MAMIL (middle-aged man in lycra) told spiked. ‘240,000 people have died since this government came to power’, said another.
No one makes wild claims like green activists. We don’t live in the pea-souper days of the Fifties, and yet the greens are still hellbent on scaremongering about poisonous air. Debra, a ‘mother with an asthmatic child’, gave a speech to the crowd about her son’s cough, while the child nodded along with a concerned look. Despite the fact that many children grow out of asthma, she bemoaned her son’s dire situation. She didn’t want to live in a place with cars and buses. ‘We want a city fit for humans and children’, she said.
A Green Party member for Islington Council told us that it was imperative for the safety of our children that we ban diesel engines from London immediately and impose an ‘ultra-low emissions zone’. This would mean implementing ‘a road-pricing system that charges drivers based on how much pollution their car produces, how big the engine is, the distance they’re travelling, and how much public transport there is available in the area’.