Chris Barker says more cars of any kind are bad news for pollution, while Dr Robin Russell-Jones believes British entrepreneurs can rise to the challenge of ‘green growth’
It is indeed good news that the advance in battery technology brings down the costs and inconveniences associated with electric cars (The Guardian view on electric cars: greener roads are good, 22 January). But it does not begin to solve the other problems associated with the volume of traffic on the roads. In fact, if electric cars become cheaper and continue to benefit from tax relief, the total number of cars may well rise. Electric cars produce no toxic emissions at the point of use but, as with all cars, embodied carbon in the production of vehicles and batteries generate greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, research by the government in 2019 found that two-thirds of the contamination from conventional vehicles arises from tyre, brake and road dust.
There are also other problems associated with too many cars of any type. The greater the level of traffic, the greater the danger of death or injury and the need for more and wider roads, creating no-go areas for people and cutting off communities from each other. Too much reliance on cars promotes a sedentary lifestyle and brings health risks.