And on the Seventh Day…….

Thirty nine years ago six European countries (Belgium, Denmark, Italy, The Netherlands, Switzerland and, the then, West Germany) were forced into imposing ‘car-less-Sundays’ because of a knock-on fuel crisis caused by war in the middle east. Petrol rationing meant that, with the exception of emergency vehicles, doctors and the likes of diplomats and other essential services, all other vehicles were banned from the roads. There were amazing scenes across Europe as populations were forced to use their initiative to get around without the use of a set of car or lorry keys. Cyclists, roller skaters and even equestrian enthusiasts enjoyed completely empty and safe roads as the politicians and oil companies fought it out. Today we are forever being told that global warming is being effected by, amongst other things, our love affair with the motor car and that we should always be looking for new ways of getting around, making more use of public transport for example (where and when it exists). Although the circumstances were quite different back in 1973/4, there is one thing that the oil crisis proved: ‘it can be done’. Imagine for one minute if every government in the world agreed to have one ‘car-free-Sunday’ every month, not necessarily on the same day, just what the impact might be to our collective emitions: that’s a lot of vehicles not being used all over the world. Many would argue that this would be economically disastrous as most of our consumer goods are transported by road meaning that such a measure would lead to a massive hike in basic prices. Yet it is also true that one can always find a reason for not doing anything which is often the case by today’s politically correct governments. They forget that the public at large are actually tougher than often credited and could teach them a thing or two about good housekeeping. Imagine, on those days anywhere in the world even the so called ‘joy riders’ or car thieves would stick out like a sore thumb. Car taxes could be reduced as all vehicles would not be used for an allotted amount of days per year. Remember, this isn’t fantasy, this has already happened, albeit by imposition. Just imagine for one moment, a day in a month when every motorway and road in Britain would fall quiet. All the lorries tucked away in their respective depots for the day, with companies having to re-think their overall logistical strategies. Now, before any fleet or transport managers begin to wince, imagine the tax and fuel savings of a genuinely re-designed transport ethos that was embraced by all. The supply of fuel would increase, road surfaces would suffer less damage leading to less repair requirements, and any repairs necessary could be carried out on the ‘no vehicle’ days. It might just work.

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