Warning – full scale lobbying in progress

15 Mar

The BBC has today given considerable coverage to two reports from transport industry lobby groups who like carbon and tarmac. To their credit the BBC are entirely above board and make it very clear where the messages are coming from, however this stuff is influential. I am not saying the reports are wrong or anything, but simply that large rich industries have a considerable and probably unhealthy influence over public opinion and policy and that it is worth highlighting that from time to time:

This morning there was a story saying that not enough money was being spent on filling pot holes, based on a report by, errr, the Asphalt Industry Alliance. They appear to be owned by the Refined Bitumen Association who are owned by Exxon, Shell, Total and others. I wonder if they have some sort of angle on all this?

And then this afternoon there is a report that someone claimed that the UK’s aviation policy is in a mess because we are not building new runways fast enough. So who is this person, err.. Willie Walsh, head of the International Airlines Group (which owns British Airways and Iberian Airways) and who is of course completely unbiased on the issue.

Back in November 2011 I wrote about the new ‘The Road Ahead Group’ which had apparently been formed back in June 2011 to lobby for expenditure on roads. I say apparently because they said that they would have a ‘low public profile’ and indeed still don’t appear to even managed to set up a website to say who they are – there is a website for an organisation of that name, but that one is for a for an educational technology project based in Dubai! The best information available on the UK one is still the information on SourceWatch. Members include construction companies, haulage companies, the company that operates the M6 toll road and curiously also a very expensive city law firm – I wonder what are they doing there?

Welcome to the world of spin and games!

2 Responses to “Warning – full scale lobbying in progress”

  1. JF March 18, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

    When I read the title of this post, I thought you meant lobbying to advocate pedestrian liberation. Is that happening? It would be great if someone could talk to the media to open people’s eyes to the issue. Too many pedestrians just accept what is happening to them. I think that if a critical mass of the population was consciously aware of the issue they would start to notice every tire on their pavement. Then things would snowball and the problem maybe even resolve itself. Unfortunately, there’s no money involved and those worse affected are amongst the least able (due to age, disability, having young kids etc.) to lobby themselves.

    • Peter Miller March 19, 2012 at 10:42 am #

      Thanks JF. There are some good groups that advocate for pedestrians, many of whom are linked to from this blog, but their efforts are to a greater or lesser extent drowned out by the much more vocal and more insistent motoring sector. I totally agree that pedestrians need to become more effective at arguing their case is a manner that can’t be ignored. The good news is that there are a number of very powerful trends which are supporting a transition towards a system that is more supportive to non-motorists.

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