While pleased to see I am not alone in believing high fuel taxes are not all bad (data briefing, page 37, 12 October), it appears John Appleby has a similar problem in justifying them.

On the one hand he says a rise in price has little effect on consumption, but on the other that raising fuel prices limits consumption today, leaving more for future generations.

It would certainly help the government regain the moral high ground if it accounted better for where the money went - hopefully into areas such as research on pollution-related illness (for example, the rise in asthma cases), or research into alternatives to oil. Both would be preferable to possible vote-winning cuts on income tax or similar.

Susan Milne Clinical effectiveness co-ordinator Southampton University Hospitals trust