Doctors should support parliamentary billBMJ 1996; 312 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.312.7046.1606 (Published 22 June 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1606
EDITOR,—David V Bates concludes that it may be public pressure and not the medical profession that leads to further clean air legislation in Britain.1 Public pressure to reduce road traffic has already begun, and medical professionals should now add their weight to the campaign.
Last March saw the introduction to parliament of the Road Traffic Reduction Bill, which would require the government to set targets for reducing road traffic miles by a tenth by 2010. The bill was introduced by Mr Cynog Dafis. He has introduced similar bills in previous sessions of parliament, but they have always been opposed by the government. This bill will undoubtedly also be opposed. However, a campaign is now building behind the bill; this is being led by Friends of the Earth and the Green party, which are trying to build enough public support to push it through.
Community based campaigns have succeeded before. Last year an alliance of local authorities, pensioners' groups, parish councils, and environmentalists managed to win government support for the Home Energy Conservation Bill, which it had previously opposed two years running. Now an act, this measure is leading to better insulated homes for a large number of people.
Doctors should be getting involved. Bates outlines our knowledge of the dangers of air pollution to health. Add to these the reduction in traffic accidents that would result from a reduction in traffic and the fitness benefits of cycling and walking, and we have a policy that doctors should back.