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Costing damage


Michael Finch has misconstrued my last letter which simply draws a parallel between one element of motoring charges (vehicle excise duty) and one element of social costs - accidents (Letters, 9/30 December 1999).

Many economic assessments overlook the massive externalisation of motoring costs in terms of damage to the wider environment. Given that transport demands account for 25% of all fossil fuel consumption which causesair pollution and global warming, perhaps some enterprising accountant could apply his/her skills to apportioning , for example, the costs of:

caring for the one in three asthmatic children in urban areas affected by vehicle emissions

rebuilding communities in the Third World decimated by El Nino and other climatic events attributable to increased greenhouse gases

replacing the millions of hectares of arable land which will be lost to rising sea levels

adapting the economies of Northern Europe to Arctic conditions when the reduced salinity of polar waters eventually causes a cessation of the Gulf Stream.

Brian Hanson, Architects & Engineers for Social Responsibility, 1 Searles View, Horsham, RH12 4FG

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