Tomorrow, the European initiative In Town, Without My Car! - co-ordinated in Britain by ETA (the Environmental Transport Association, not the Basque terrorist group!) - will witness 800+ towns and cities in Europe and beyond closing their town centre streets to motor traffic.

Peace and quiet in Euro town centres

Of course, the UK is the only country not to officially sanction the day although one or two towns and eight London boroughs are running events.

Last year, in 92 Italian cities and 66 French cities, car-free areas were established in large parts of town centres, enabling people to discover their home towns on foot, by bicycle or public transport. There were over 22 million participants in the campaign, and over 85 percent wanted it to be regularly repeated.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone supports the car-free day: "This event is more than a one-off opportunity to experience neighbourhoods free of the intrusive effects of cars, important though that is. The support for regular and widespread activities on specific Car-Free Days, in which areas of London are closed to most traffic, will grow. In this way, real benefits will be seen in terms of improving air quality, reducing noise in London, and improving the health of Londoners."

Last year Paris closed down 40 miles of roads to motor traffic, and people simply could not believe how tranquil their cities could be without

cars for a few hours. 44 percent of Parisians said they wanted a car free day every week.

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