Green Blast Over Anti-Tram War Chest

Ealing Friends of the Earth Unhappy About Fighting Fund

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Ealing Friends of the Earth have sharply criticised Ealing Council for their decision to budget for £775,000 to fight against plans for the West London Tram.

Nic Ferriday, from Ealing FoE, said, "We have got used to the anti-tram lobby coming up with arguments ranging from dubious through spurious to downright bizarre. But seeing Ealing Council proposing to spend £775,000 of our money conjuring up such arguments for the benefit of a public inquiry takes tram opposition to a new level of absurdity."

He added, "We have a council that says it is concerned about council tax and is prepared to cut services. Yet it is prepared to spend getting on for £1 million opposing better public transport and opposing an investment of £648 million which Ealing council does not even have to pay for."

Ealing Friends of the Earth has been a supporter of the tram as they claim studies that show that there would be a wide range of benefits from the project. They believe the tram will improve journey times, reduce traffic, help regeneration, improve social inclusion, reduce air pollution and reduce greenhouse gases. They dismiss claims by opponents of the tram that the closure of the Uxbridge Road at 'pinch points' will lead to the diversion of traffic into residential streets and say that the only real downside of the tram is that it will annoy car drivers who don't want to see trams (or buses) getting in the way of their cars.

Mr Ferriday said, " Sadly, it appears that Ealing council is more interested in pandering to car drivers, mainly in central Ealing, than it is in better public transport, better health or a better environment."

Councillor Jason Stacey has urged residents to oppose the tram at every opportunity and said, “ TfL clearly does not want to listen to the results of its own recent survey, which showed people along the route don’t want a tram and think it’s a complete waste of public money."

Transport for London have already spent an estimated £29 million on the tram although it still remains uncertain whether the project will ever get the go ahead.

March 22, 2007