This is my reply to a letter published in the March issue of TGO magazine, in which the correspondent complained about a £10 parking charge levied in the Snowdonia National Park. I hope it might stimulate a debate on what measures we can use to reduce car usage in National Parks and how we can campaign for the preservation and improvement of public transport in rural areas. Any suggestions?
RE: “PARKING TROUBLES” TGO MARCH 2012
John Morris’s complaint about high parking charges in Snowdonia raises some interesting wider questions about the entitlement of motorists to drive and park cheaply within our national parks.
If a high parking charge discourages one motorist from driving around a beautiful, but fragile, environment like Snowdonia, then I would support it, however spurious the reasoning behind the charge.
Has Mr Morris considered joining the National Trust (NT)? Membership would enable him to enjoy free parking in NT car parks. Another answer could be to share his journey to North Wales with other walkers, especially if he usually travels on his own: four people in one fairly economic car not only reduces emissions, but lowers individual petrol costs and parking charges.
An even better solution would be for Mr Morris to “dump his car” at home and try to access most of our beautiful places by foot, bike or public transport. Then he might just appreciate the difficulties faced by those of us who don’t/can’t /won’t drive. Perhaps his experiences might also encourage him to join this neglected group in lobbying for the preservation and improvement of public transport in rural areas.
Mr Morris protests that high parking charges equate to “taxing our outdoor pursuits”. An alternative view would question how much entitlement motorists should have to pollute and obstruct our national parks without appropriate penalty.
Hopefully, the question of parking charges might lead to a general debate on how we can reduce traffic throughout all our national parks and other beautiful areas: yes, we may have been there before, and no, trying to reduce the number of cars in these areas does not represent a war on motorists. We need workable solutions before we ruin even more of our countryside.
For anyone seeking information about how to access walks in national parks (and other areas throughout the country) without a car, check out: www.carfreewalks.org while www.bootandbike showcases walking and cycling routes in UK and Europe, as well as giving advice on how to plan trips on foot, or by bike and how to get there without flying, or using a car. www.bettertransport.org.uk campaigns for sustainable transport options and www.livingstreets.org.uk lobbies for the rights of pedestrians in urban and rural areas.