Traffic strategy or social engineering Guernsey Press

Where are we heading with all these changes? The Traffic Strategy from a few years ago is in tatters, a process started with the infighting in the Environment Department that split the committee in the last term leading to resignations, then to this term of social engineering in my opinion to push the motorist into other forms of transport. It’s not dealing with a strategy that’s good for all.

We need parking on the outskirts of town (Charroterie tyre company site would be perfect for a multi-storey), that would bring life back to the Old Quarter. The old Guernsey Brewery could have been another but that’s gone so maybe Salerie needs digging out for a multi-storey. Sorry people – it would involve paid parking, but it would reduce people driving along the seafront and lower-paid Town workers could get free parking on days that they work if a modern computer system was in place.

Set up bus stations either side of St Peter Port (North Beach and Havelet) to reduce traffic across the seafront, it works on Seafront Sundays. North Beach to service the north and west of the island, Havelet to service the south and south west etc., and keep the buses off the seafront. There would also be less traffic on the seafront if enough edge-of-Town parking was available, making a quieter seafront as a lot of traffic through it currently is drivers looking for parking.

We cannot continue to use fuel as a tax collection point as more efficient hybrids and electric vehicles come in. And yes, sorry to say, an annual road/emission tax may need to be considered with exceptions for certain areas, classic cars, bikes, limited-mileage cars and some consideration given to freight vehicles (maybe a fixed charge annually), but with the ‘road tax’ element on fuel (21p per litre) to be removed if this came in. Let taxis buy duty-free fuel, thus reducing fares to encourage their use as an alternative transport. Do not their competitors, the buses, have this privilege?

Guernsey still does not have a rear seat-belt law, even with all this talk of ‘doing many things under the safety banner’. Why not? We have no MoT or safety check yet are kidding the public that safety is at the forefront of Environment’s decisions. And with the EU considering cars without MoTs from their country of registration not being allowed in the future on their roads, we need to wake up to that call now.

We have to be careful that new policies are not being pushed under the ‘safety’ banner in such a way that if we don’t do what they want we feel guilty if something happens. Safety is the biggest thing in the production of vehicles, so don’t insult the manufacturers by implementing draconian ideas just to champion personal crusades, do it for the right reasons.

I’ve been involved in the motor industry for more than 40 years and have sat with many deputies over that time and argued my industry’s corner. In that time I have never seen all parties in the same room working together, motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, bus users, taxis etc. Isn’t time this was done? It seems the current way of thinking is to divide and conquer.