John Whitelegg’s letter in response to an article by Boris Johnson in the Telegraph


Boris Johnson writes that fuel prices seem to cost twice as much as they did a decade ago, yet, despite his intuition, government figures have shown that the real cost of motoring has decreased by 14% since 1997. A fuel stabiliser is an inadequate short-term dressing on a gaping wound: we can’t go on expecting fuel prices to remain low forever. Prices are bound to increase. Demand from China and India is accelerating and new oilfields are not replacing the ones in decline.
The Green Party is well aware that fuel price increases bear down heavily on low income groups and on rural residents. This requires a twin track approach. First, the tax system as a whole needs to be far more progressive than it is now so that it extracts more from the rich and less from the poor. Secondly, we need a revolution in transport planning so that all our communities have world-best walking, cycling and public transport systems and people can then make the choice to avoid expensive fuel.
We still have time to get transport right and to produce reductions in noise, air pollution, death and injury and greenhouse gases. We can produce huge financial savings for ordinary people who need not become hostages to fuel price increases and at the same time create jobs in local public transport.

Professor John Whitelegg
Green Party Spokesperson on Sustainable Development


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