Socialists oppose congestion charge
Coventry Socialists have launched a petition opposing a levy on motorists in the city.
The petition, which is available on the city council’s website, opposes what it calls “the Government imposition” of a congestion charge.
Coventry Council has been ordered by the Government to establish a Clean Air Zone. This could mean motorists being charged to enter the city, alongside buses, coaches, lorries, taxis and other vehicles whose engines are not clean enough.
The Council has been given a deadline of June 14th to respond to the government direction.
Speaking today, former councillor Dave Nellist said:
“We want to see determined action to improve air quality, protect people’s health and tackle climate change, but this isn’t the way to go about it.
“Responding to these problems should be a collective responsibility not a personal cost.
“The best solution to reduce transport-related air pollution, as our petition argues, would be by introducing free public transport in Coventry.
“This is radical, but not impossible. In fact, it was the West Midlands Labour Party policy until 1986.
“And today dozens of cities around the world have some form of free transport – including cities of a similar size to Coventry, like Dunkirk in France, and Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.”
Free public transport using environmentally-friendly powered vehicles would do far more to cut air pollution, argue the socialists, than either redirecting traffic, through closing the Coundon Road rail crossing, or making travel more costly via a congestion charge.
“The measure would help everyone” argues Mr Nellist, “but especially those on lower incomes.
“If introduced on a wider basis, reduced emissions would also have a major impact on greenhouse gases, and therefore climate charge”, he says.
Coventry Socialist Party wants increased public investment into publicly owned, democratically managed, integrated bus and train services.
It hopes the petition will gain hundreds of signatures and be discussed by the city council in the coming weeks.
The petition can be viewed and signed here.