Health minister proposes to ban cars on Sundays

09.39 | 9 May 2011 |

A proposal by Anne Milton MP, public health minister, to ban cars from some streets on Sundays to revive outside play for children and tackle obesity has been greeted with ‘amazement’ by the Association of British Drivers (London Evening Standard).

According to the Evening Standard report, Ms Milton got the idea after discussions with a health minister from Colombia.

She said: "On Sundays they close certain streets [in Colombia] so that everybody can play in them. That is an outstanding idea. Before constituents email to complain about their streets closing, I should say that I accept it would not work everywhere."

Two thirds of UK children will be obese by 2050 if current trends continue. In a recent Commons debate Mary Macleod MP highlighted that the present generation of obese children would cost London £110m if they grow up to be obese adults.

The Department of Health said shutting roads as part of anti-obesity moves would be something for local councils to consider.

The Association of British Drivers (ABD) reacted with ‘amazement’ to Ms. Milton’s suggestion. Brian Gregory, ABD chairman, said: "It’s not so long ago that the government assured us it was ending the war on the motorist. We pay several times over to use our roads, not be banned from them.

“Suggesting unnecessary restrictions on our freedom will achieve nothing. Has Ms. Milton also considered that many people drive out with their families for sporting and other healthy leisure activities on Sundays? She should concentrate her attention on encouraging healthier diet, as obesity is caused by excessive calories, not car use."

Click here to read the full London Evening Standard report.


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