4 September 2000
Welsh face transport ‘nightmare’

By FWi staff

FARMERS and other rural dwellers face a nightmare scenario if predictions by a leading Welsh transport academic come true, claims the Farmers Union of Wales.

Professor Garel Rhys, head of automotive industry research at Cardiff Business School has described aspects of the governments transport policy as an attack on mobility and freedom.

He warned that in 10 years time motoring could be so costly that people will be forced to abandon their cars and have to rely on public transport.

Prof Rhys compared the UKs motoring taxation levels to the former Soviet Unions policy of controlling the lives of its citizens by restricting car use.

“The former Soviet bloc restricted car output to control peoples lives,” said Professor Rhys, an authority on the motor industry and Parliamentary advisor on trade and industry.

“Now that will come here in the measures planned for introduction over the next decade to price traffic off the road.”

Emyr James, the FUWs director of business development, said Professor Rhys had described a “nightmare scenario”.

He said this was a determined attempt to force people off the roads, denying them access to basic services such as shops, banks and post offices.

“It will, in effect, turn people who live in the countryside into second class citizens, unable to play a full role in society,” said Mr James.

The FUW has called on the Chancellor to cut fuel duty by at least 10p per litre to help offset rises in the world price of oil and bring it in line with other countries.

UK petrol prices average 81p per litre, compared with a Europe-wide average of 63.6p per litre. The average price in Luxembourg and Spain is 48p per litre.

The average fuel tax rate in Europe is 64.2 per cent, compared with 76 per cent in the UK.

On Monday (04 Sept) French farmers blockaded petrol depots and oil refineries in protest at fuel prices.