The price of fuel continues to spiral faster than any other commodity. Each time the price of petrol at the pumps increases they offer another excuse to the public. Usually, it is just following the escalating cost of oil per barrel.

With ever increasing demands on the fast diminishing worldwide supplies, reasons for such inflated charges have become too easy for them to find. Over the last thirty or forty years our whole Society has become more and more dependant on oil. Some people need it for heating and all of us have built our way of life around the convenience of having a car.

Meanwhile, through all the traumas and emergencies the oil magnates continue to amass their fortunes.

Did You Know?

Not so long ago, other than people like Doctors and Veterinaries, the only private cars on the road were owned by the few that were able to afford them. They didn’t have them out of necessity. In many cases, it was most likely just to boost their standing in Society. Of course they were fun to drive and took much less time and effort to look after than a horse and trap.

It wasn’t until the late 1950’s that some working people found themselves in a position to be able to afford to run one. In those early days they were only used for short trips and to take the family on weekend outings. Many men had learned to drive during their military service and couldn’t wait to get back behind the wheel. Those of them who had been wise enough to renew and keep their driving license up to date didn’t have to take a driving test.

Roads were not very good at that time and traffic travelling too fast was never the problem it is today. Most country roads were too narrow and winding to allow anyone to reach speeds in excess of thirty miles an hour. Other hazards had to be considered before you set off. Garages were smaller and often scarce while cars, being far less reliable than they are today, broke down more frequently. Friendly organisations like the AA were there to assist but first they had to be contacted. With very few other cars on the country roads the only way to get help was to walk to the nearest telephone and that might be miles away.

This highlights how our life style has been changed. It’s not only because of our convenient personal transport that we all take for granted but also the effect of instant communication afforded by mobile phones. Anyone who required help and was stranded in those days would have welcomed any means of contact. A decision to stay put until someone came by would invariably result in a very long wait. Of course this only applied to rural areas. It was different in the towns and cities where buses, lorries, taxis and other types of vehicles had much easier access to public telephones and the rapidly increasing number of garages which were springing up everywhere.

Traffic of all kinds increased throughout the country during the 1960’s. With it came new problems for every community that had to accommodate it by improving the roads. The work had to be accelerated when more and more of the railways were closed and the lorries became larger and more abundant. It is doubtful if many areas have caught up yet! As we all continue to use our cars, no matter how long or short our proposed trip might be, it is inevitable that our roads and motorways will become even more heavily congested.

Whatever the state of the roads no towns or villages want large heavy lorries passing their houses and buildings. Where the surface is rough and uneven the vibrations often cause foundations to tremble and ceilings and walls to crack. So what can be done about it?

Many bypasses have been built, taking up valuable land and antagonising all the efforts of organisations like the Green Party and those who feel strongly about the environment. If they are the solution to the traffic problem many more are urgently required to meet the demands of the public.

It must be remembered, Many of those responsible for this situation are the same people who insist we recycle our waste, cut down on the use of our cars and save energy with Eco-friendly light bulbs etc. It seems they have no practical solutions to the errors of the past and very few ideas to prevent things getting worse. Whenever there are things that could be done we are usually told there is no funding available.

If the price of petrol continues to go up until it is beyond the reach of Mr Everyone, the Government will also lose out in many ways, not least of all financially. We all think we couldn’t manage without our cars but if we didn’t have them or the fuel they require, we would have to find a way of doing so. Remember, — ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’!

Have you ever wondered how they found the resources in the nineteenth century to put a railway system throughout the country that was second to none in the World. The furthest you could get from a railway track in England before the last World War was seven miles.

It carried passengers and goods to within reach of even the smallest and remote villages. Even so, the trains and goods wagons didn’t hurtle down the main streets and unsuitable roads causing havoc as the lorries do today. They had stations and depots from where they delivered or the public collected their goods.

Why couldn’t such provision have been made for road transport when they closed the railways? With so many bypasses being put in along the old tracks, with a little forethought they might have been able to utilise some of the old goods stations. It’s still not too late to follow their example! The problems created by the heavy lorries would not all be solved but it would be a start and a benefit to many small towns and villages.

valley lad – [FIFTY]