Another good example of a “To what extent” essay for you now…I just want to mention something first about the importance of correctly interpreting the question. Some people when approaching this question have written about car numbers, and why cars are bad, and how they cause pollution, etc. All of which is very interesting. However, as I have mentioned before in my videos if you write too generally about the topic but fail to focus and address the specific question then you will be throwing potential points away.
That is to say, if we consider the question
The first car appeared on British roads in 1888. By the year 2000 there may be as many as 29 million vehicles on British roads.
Alternative forms of transport should be encouraged and international laws introduced to control car ownership and use.
To what extent do you agree or disagree?
You might well think it is asking to write about why we should ban cars and stop them polluting and so on and so forth. However, it is asking do you agree or not that alternative forms of transport and international laws should be used to control car use. So, it is not asking why we should control car use, but how we should control it. A subtle distinction indeed….
So take a look…
The number of cars on UK roads has risen from their introduction in 1888 to an estimated 29 million by 2000, this number has prompted the suggestion that alternative means of transport as well as international legislation be introduced to curb car usage. I disagree with this suggestion and will argue that given the selfish nature of individuals, most people will not choose alternative transport, and that introducing new legal instruments will require more political will than most current governments possess.
Firstly, it can be argued the main selling point of the private car is privacy and convenience, as well as selfishness. Many people do not want to use public transport and are aware of the benefits it provides, however, the ease and convenience of personal transport for many takes precedence. For example, a recent survey by the University of Edinburgh shows that 90% of private car owners would still use their cars even when they were aware of the problems they cause, such as congestion, pollution, etc. This research indicates that even if alternatives were available, human selfishness would discourage many drivers from making use of them.
Secondly, even if effective legislation could be written which would curb car usage, it is doubtful they would be implemented. Given the number of voters who are car drivers, any government who proposed such restrictions of the drivers “right” of ownership would soon find themselves voted out of office. For example, UK Dept of Transport research showed that over 75% of current car owners believed any anti-car laws would be an attack on their freedom to drive, and would vote against the political party who tried to introduce them. This would suggest that any governing power who tried such a move would require considerable political will in the face of certain electoral suicide.
In conclusion, despite the number of cars on UK roads currently, in my opinion, attempts to reduce them by encouraging the use of alternatives and by legislation are doomed to failure. This is due to personal selfishness, and the perceived “right” of the individual to drive as they wish.