AT least in America there is some beauty there.

Across the highways and along the parkways your eye is caught by drive through restaurants with a bit of panache and individuality. Yes, there are your standard McDonald's and your plain old Burger King but local branches have parabolic archways and retro colours, futuristic elegance and whimsical designs.

In 2005 I took a road trip across the United States. We drove from Austin, Texas, around the state and then straight across until we came to Needles, California. We hung a right and headed up to Nevada before travelling back roughly the way we came.

Drive through food outlets everywhere. In Las Vegas, of course, a drive through chapel.

I remember seeing my first drive through bank. What a wheeze these Americans were. You could handle your finances without having to step out of your vehicle. No wonder obesity was such an issue. Who's too lazy to stand up to enter a PIN? Drive through liquor stores and pharmacies.

In the UK, our drive through game is pitiful. But not only are our outlets dull, they are becoming prolific, and that’s a problem.

In Glasgow’s Dennistoun, locals have seen off plans for a drive through Starbucks.

Residents and councillors were worried about parking and the increase in the number of vehicles around the site, alongside concerns around litter, public safety, pollution and congestion.

It's the second time similar plans have been drawn up for the site but then withdrawn.

Not very far along the road a drive through Starbucks opened in the Forge Retail Park only last November. It's only about three minutes by car between the two locations so heavens knows why you'd be plugging for a second branch so close by.

Sixteen years ago on our US road trip, it all seemed so alien.

When I worked for Starbucks these car-friendly coffee shops were apocryphal, talked about in whispers. "Did you know in America you can buy a drive through Frappuccino?" It seemed to wild to be true.

Imagine purchasing a doughnut while still in the seat of your car. The very height of indulgence.

Now look at us. Drive through McDonald's joined by drive through Krispy Kreme donuts and drive through Costa coffee and drive through Starbucks. These things are everywhere.

Last year a Costa one opened in the car park of Coatbridge B&Q. I couldn't knock it. During the pandemic lockdown, Iit was a treat to drive through and take my mum a cappuccino. Very little else was happening, and don't think I don't understand the temptation.

In lockdown we became car dependent. Public transport use declined due to social distancing, a decrease in services and home working. Taking the car was the safest option.

Drive through Covid-19 testing centres and then drive through vaccination centres popped up. I saw people tweet about being unable to access tests or appointments because of a lack of a vehicle. Cycling to either was prohibited.

Driving through a restaurant or coffee shop was one of the limited forms of entertainment.

But badly planned, they cause traffic chaos. Near the Gorbals, on Glasgow's south side, a retail park has opened up with both a drive through Costa and a drive through Burger King.

The location is curious. It's smack dab at an already congested motorway junction and, even with reduced traffic levels due to Covid-19, it causes a right nuisance with drivers trying to weave through the M74 traffic to access a caramel macchiato.

Back in Coatbridge land was hived off for a drive through Burger King. Minutes from there, a new drive through McDonald's just opened in the Morrison car park at Glasgow Fort.

The resulting tailbacks leave me unconvinced that anyone properly considered the effect of two drive food outlets right next to one another in an already busy area. After a couple of weeks of snarl ups, staff were sent out in high vis to direct the traffic and the car park has been redesigned with temporary barriers and signs.

Last summer environment secretary George Eustice encouraged fast food drive throughs to reopen, rightly stating they were ideal for social distancing.

I have a McDonald's and a KFC flanking the opposite side of my flat from the Costa and Burger King, all homogenous, unappealing architecture. When they reopened in the summer I tweeted a video, without comment, of the extraordinary queue snaking in both directions. On one side the queue went for half a mile.

I was called a snob for suggesting people shouldn't be queueing up for fast food.

Not at all, I entirely understand why they did - at that time.

But we keep being reminded we must "build back better" following the pandemic. Drive through restaurants don't meet this pledge.

We must stop encouraging superfluous car use and venues designed only to meet the needs of drivers.

Idling traffic is particularly dreadful for air quality, on top of the increase in car journeys to reach these places adding to our carbon output. Glasgow is one of the worst places in the UK for air quality and drive throughs are air pollution hot spots.

Britain is an obesogenic society in the middle of a health crisis yet drive throughs are popping up all over, encouraging sedentary activities combined with unhealthy food.

Negative impact on air quality, negative impact on climate change, selling us unhealthy food that we don't even have to move to collect. Let's not forget the environmental impact of the amount of litter left behind by customers who are also too lazy to reach for a bin.

Drive throughs have played a useful part during the pandemic but now, as we move out of the crisis, is not the time to be building more. Like the residents of Dennistoun, we should be seeing them off and looking for more local, healthy alternatives to create thriving communities.

The SNP manifesto pledges to focus on 20 minute communities while the Greens are more ambitious still with 15 minute communities - everything you need within a 20 minute or 15 minute walk. Drive throughs don't fit any of the post-pandemic targets

They are convenient, absolutely, but what good is convenience when it comes at so high a cost.