Archive for Transport


The cheapest price I’ve seen for petrol this last couple of days has been Tesco at 94.9p/litre.

It’s still got to drop at least 20p/litre to get back to the price it was the last time oil was this cheap but spare a thought for our Dutch friends – the petrol station over the road from where we stayed in the Netherlands was stil €1.31/litre when we left.

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Thieving Bastards

Metric Martyr, Neil Herron, was in the High Court in London today to seek a judicial review into the civil parking fines system.

Neil has argued for a long time that the parking adjudication service isn’t impartial because it’s funded by taking a percentage of any fines that are paid. The Human Rights Act says that everyone is entitled to a fair trial and unbiased adjudication which it’s clearly impossible to get when the adjudication service has a vested interest in finding against the person with the ticket.

He’s also arguing that as the law stands, any restricted parking zone containing zigzags or red lines is invalid and the tickets unenforceable.

Meanwhile, Nottingham City Council has thought of a new way of fleecing a bit more cash out of drivers by plotting the introduction of a workplace car parking space tax. I kid you not, they actually want to tax the parking space you use at your place of work.

There’s only one kind of language these people understand and that’s the kind written on a piece of 2 by 4.

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EU wants to kill motorcyclists again

Regular reader, KeithS, send me this message this morning:

You can rely on the EU never to give up on a bad cause…

You’re not wrong Keith.  Back in October 2006, Federal Europe said that it wanted every vehicle to have its lights on at all times.  They said it would save lives but motorcycling groups inundated the British government with letters telling them that it was, to put it bluntly, a fucking stupid idea.

You see, the problem is that kidney donors motorcyclists usually ride around with their lights on all the time so that they can be seen more easily.  Ok, they quite often ride around with main beam on blinding drivers and making it very tempting to open your door at an inopportune moment (I don’t recommend doing this, I just said it was tempting) but that’s another rant.  This works because, unless it’s dark, the only people who have their lights on in broad daylight are old men in cloth caps who drive everwhere at 40mph with their fog lights and wipers on and let’s face it, they need avoiding just as much as motorcyles.

The kidney donors motorcyclists said it would mean more motorcycle deaths.  The British government agreed but said that it is unable to protect its own citizens because they will have to abide by the EU Directive.

Interestingly, one of the worlds largest manufacturers of car headlight bulbs is the German firm, Osram.  What are the odds of Osram being in the lobby group trying to get this bastshit idea implemented?

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Drivers Alliance

The Drivers Alliance has officially launched its website today as news of the British government’s rubber stamping of road pricing trials hit the papers.

Drivers Alliance - SmallThe Drivers Alliance was started by Peter Roberts, the Telford man who started the 1.8m signature Downing Street petition opposing road pricing.

Pop over and take a look.  Peter is a very hard working guy, this could easily become the Taxpayers Alliance of the motoring world.

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Boris over-rules the eco-loonies

Boris Johnson has over-ruled the eco-loonies in London and cancelled the pedestrianisation of Parliament Square and the purchase of hygdrogen-powered vehicle for use in the public sector around London.

Ken Livingstone, the odious turd that preceded Boris, approved plans for the pedestrianisation of Parliament Square which would have involved paving over the grass and banning cars from the surrounding area (Although presumably MPs would still have been allowed to send their chauffeur-driven cars up to the front door).  Boris says he has cancelled the plan because he doesn’t think Londoners would want to spend any more of their stretched transport budget on reducing the capacity of London roads.

Red Ken also approved the purchase of several hydrogen-powered cars, vans and motorbikes for use by the public sector in London.  Boris has cancelled those because Transport for London says they’re not viable yet although they will still go ahead and purchase 10 hydrogen-powered buses and construct fueling facilities.

The red-cheeked, tweed jacket wearing Green Party assembly member, Darren Johnson, said:

Mayor Johnson has just scrapped the biggest hydrogen vehicle project in this country.

It is one thing for the London mayor to talk green, but he is clearly turning into a one man environmental disaster.

He has scrapped the £25 charged on gas guzzlers and dropped plans for a pedestrian friendly Parliament.

What’s the point of spending taxpayers money buying hydrogen-powered vehicles that, according to Transport for London, are not viable?  What’s the point in charging £25 for the privilege of driving a 4×4 into London?  Does it produce 3 or 4 times as much congestion?  And the pedestrianisation of Parliament Square will not make Parliament more pedestrian friendly.

It’s good to see some common sense coming out of Boris Johnson, it’s a shame we can’t expect more of the same from “Call Me Dave” Camoron after the next election.

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Drivers won’t pay to use road shock!

The M6 Toll Road has seen a drop in traffic numbers of over 13% in the last year.

The road was the first toll motorway in the UK and is operated by Midlands Expressway, a private company that spent a huge wedge of taxpayers money along with another huge wedge of private money on building and operating a length of toll motorway that runs pretty much parallel to the existing, free of charge M6.

I’ve never used the M6 Toll myself.  I refuse to pay to use a road that I’ve already paid to use and the traffic on the M6 is bad but not bad enough to make me want to pay £4.50 to travel a few miles down the road.

The M6 Toll company actually operates the information signs that tell you when the M6 is congested.  I’ve only seen the M6 congested once as badly as the M6 Toll sign said that it was.

The National Alliance Against Tolls has called on the Highway Agency to take over the road but that won’t change anything – most people just won’t pay to use roads unless they have to.

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That’s the way to do it!

About 90,000 Spanish lorry drivers started a protest at rising fuel prices at midnight last night.

Some trucks trying to cross picket lines have had their windscreens smashed and their lights ripped out and tyres slashed.

French fishermen were, a week ago, ramming yachts in harbour during a protest at rising fuel prices.

There are protests all over Europe – including here in England – at rising fuel prices and the French and Spanish are once again showing how it should be done.  I wouldn’t normally condone the use of brute force in a protest but there is a lot at stake here – food and fuel prices (the former is linked to the latter) are spiralling out of control and very soon people are going to start finding themselves in the position where they can’t afford to buy even basic food items.

English hauliers blocked the entrance to the refinary at Ellesmere Port the other day but it went virtually unreported – the national media ignored it and the only reason I knew it had happened was because my local paper covers Ellesmere Port and local hauliers were involved in the action.  There appears to be a deliberate media blackout of English fuel protests.

The head of the Spanish transport association federation said:

We are the ones who move the goods that this country needs to keep working.  If we stop because we haven’t got the money to buy fuel then the country will stop.

Bang on and exactly the point I made last week.  If hauliers went on strike – and this means getting the likes of Eddie Stobbart and Christian Salvessen on board – for a week, the country would be crippled and the British government would either have to forcibly break a legal protest by siezing the trucks and using the army to tranposrt food to supermarkets or they would have to do the decent thing and reduce fuel duty.

Giving in to protesters or bringing in the army to confiscate privately owned trucks – which would Gordo choose?  Of course, causing disruption to food or fuel supplies is now classed as terrorism and if he gets his way on Wednesday, any protesters could find themselves detained without charge for a month and a half.  Would Gordo have 90,000 lorry drivers locked up for a month and a half for exercising their constitutional right to free assembly and protest?  Is the Pope catholic?  Does a bear shit in the woods?  Does a Glaswegian drink 14 pints of whiskey before starting a riot and then vomiting on a policeman’s trousers?  Of course he would – there is no room for dissent in the Brownian Republic of New Britain.

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Fuel protests in London and Cardiff

Hundreds of hauliers are heading to both London and Cardiff to protest at obscene fuel prices.

The Wales protest will be travelling from Llanelli to Cardiff and the London protest is going from Kent to London.

The British government blames high oil prices for the price of fuel but this is bollocks – about 80% of the price of fuel is down to tax and rising oil prices have given the Treasury a massive windfall from fuel duty. If they weren’t pissing it up the wall on fucking stupid things that we don’t want like the EU and ID cards there’d be plenty of money to plug any gap in the budget caused by dropping – or even abolishing – fuel duty. And that’s without even considering the boost to the economy from the reduction of any tax.

Hauliers can bring the country to its knees in days – all they have to do is stop delivering fuel and food and supermarkets will be empty and petrol stations will start running out of fuel. The country would grind to a halt and the British government would probably fail. Of course, that would require the likes of Eddie Stobart and Christian Salvesen to join the protests which is not particularly likely because they base most of their fleet either in France or in the South East of England where they can travel to France to fill up on cheap fuel.

If the hauliers get their way it won’t bring down car tax and it probably won’t bring down the cost of fuel for you and I but it will cut the cost of transport and that will cut the cost of producing and transporting food and other goods.

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Bye Bye Jaguar

Federal Europe is currently working on plans to fine car manufacturers for every vehicle they produce that exceeds the finger in the air figure of 130g/km of Carbon Dioxide emissions.  The fine is expected to be £68 per gramme.

Of course, with this being the EU, the regulations are ridiculously ill conceived and designed to benefit only the largest continental producers.  The limit of 130g/km is an average across their entire product range so a large manufacturer just needs a couple of token low carbon matchbox cars to bring its average down, even if they produce a 4 litre V8 monster.

The example I’ve been given by Mike Nattrass MEP (good luck in Crewe & Nantwich, Mike) shows just how ridiculous the new regulations are.  Jaguar and Land Rover have been sold by Ford to Tata.  Across Ford’s entire product range they have managed to stay below the 130g/km limit – even when they produce cars like the 4.6l, 300bhp V8 Mustang or the 5.4l, 550bhp V8 Ford GT.  Tata, however, don’t have a range of toy cars like Ford to bring down their average so they will have to pay fines on every Jaguar or Land Rover they produce.  A 2l diesel X-Type Jag will attract a fine of £1,292 per car whilst a V8 Range Rover will attract a whopping £16,728 fine per vehicle.

So what will happen to Jaguar and Land Rover?  They simply won’t sell anything with a tax like that on top of the price of the car so they’ll just shift production outside of Federal Europe, jobs will be lost and a piece of history will come to an end.

The British government must be worried at the loss of jobs and the inevitable loss of Land Rover and Jaguar from these shores?  Liebour MP, Richard Burden, asked the Treasury and got the following garbled and essentially meaningless message:

I am happy to assure him that the Government are aware of the points that he makes and are keeping a close eye on the progress of discussions about the development of EU regulations in Europe

Wow!  They’re “keeping a close eye on the progress of discussions”.  Here’s a suggestion – have some discussions of your own.  Perhaps something along the lines of “this is a stupid fucking tax and there’s no way you’re destroying our economy with your punitive and utterly pointless eco taxes so fuck off back under your rock you clueless facists”.  Or words to that effect.

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They don’t like it up ’em!

Ian Taylor, a builder from Gloucestershire, has cut his car in half with and angle grinder rather than let wheel clamping bandits, NCP, take his car away.

He bought a knackered old Fiesta for his son but it was beyond economical repair so he declared it off-road and parked it on his drive while he waited to scrap it.  However, part of the back wheel was on the pavement so a jobsworth clamper put a clamp on the car.

NCP are standing by their actions and trying to demonise Taylor by saying that he put others in danger by cutting his car in half after the angle grinder set fire to it.

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More fuel price protests

Some of the hauliers that protested in London earlier this week arranged a surprise blockade of the Stanlow oil refinery in Ellesmere Port yesterday in protest at fuel prices.

According to my local rag, the Shropshire Star, “Jim Jordan, of Shrewsbury-based Jordan’s Transport, said the surprise protest was aimed at building a momentum following an earlier protest in London on Tuesday.”

Jim is my cousin and I can exclusively reveal that (unless his wife was there to translate) what he actually said was “Mmmm mmmmmm mmmmm mmm nnnnn mmm. Mm”. I struggle to decipher his muttering, I think the journalist may have used some artistic licence!

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Haulier Protests

Haulage companies from Shrewsbury (my cousin is there – I saw him on BBC News!) have travelled to London today to protest against rising costs of running their trucks.
Fuel prices are at an all-time high and hauliers are asking for a cut in road tax for lorries.  If they get their way it won’t make road tax any cheaper for car drivers but it will cut the cost of transporting goods meaning (in theory) what you buy from the shops should be cheaper.

It also means that our own haulage companies will be able to compete better with foreign haulage companies that benefit from cheap fuel and don’t have to pay any taxes here.

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Things that piss me off … on the roads

Three things that piss me off on the roads:

1. People driving 4×4’s or road versions of World Rally Championship winning cars driving down the middle of the road to avoid driving over speed bumps.

2. People driving tractors down a busy road at 8 o’clock in the morning.

3. People who drive round islands in the outside lane regardless of which exit they’re getting off.

Anyone got any better ones … ?

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Bus Pass Discrimination

On April 1st a new scheme came into force to allow pensioners to have fee off-peak travel around England.

Previously they were entitled to only off-peak travel within their local authority.

Pensioners in Scotland and Wales have been entitled to free public transport at any time throughout their own country for several years and in Northern Ireland they are entitled to free transport throughout Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

English pensioners still don’t have the same rights that Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish pensioners have because there is no English government for English people.

Free public transport is only one area where English pensioners are disadvantaged compared to the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish (free central heating, free elderly care, for example) but it’s one that has the potential to make a real difference to their lives, particularly those with mobility problems.
The only way English pensioners are going to get the same treatment as Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish pensioners is with an English Parliament spending English taxes on people in England.

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Illegal parking fine regime “reformed”

The system of illegal and unconstitutional summary justice in the form of parking fines has been “reformed” but still has no legal legitimacy.

The Bill of Rights says that “any promise of fine or forfeiture before conviction is illegal and void” – a traffic warden, police officer or private contactor are not judges or juries and any on-the-spot fine is clearly illegal and void.

As the law stood previously, a traffic warden or private equivalent had to actually ticket your car – they couldn’t simply send you a fine through the post.  Now you can be fined weeks later without anyone coming near your car if it’s seen (or they think it’s been seen) on a CCTV camera.

The new changes to the law also provide for longer periods where you can pay a reduced amount if you don’t appeal.  This is to encourage you not to take up your constitutional right to defend yourself from the accusation.  It is illegal to hinder someone’s ability to defend themselves – the threat of higher fines for exercising your constitutional right to defend yourself is a hinderence and a deliberate on at that.

The whole parking fines system is a scam designed to illegitimately extract as much cash from the motorist as possible whilst making it possible for dubious or completely false fines to be enforced.  The system is weighted heavily against the motorist – the “independent” parking adjudication service is funded by a percentage of the fines they allow and the courts cannot rule that illegal fines are illegal (even if they believe them to be) because the implications of ruling against every illegal fine the state has issued would lead to tens of billions of pounds being refunded for fines illegally issued and in lost future income for the Treasury.

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MEP heckled for criticising hypocrisy

West Midlands UKIP MEP, Mike Natrass, was heckled in the European Parliament for suggesting that MEPs should use the integrated tram system that stops outside the parliament building instead of turning up in 50 chauffeur-driven limo’s.

He made his comments during a “debate” on Sustainable European Transport Policy when they were talking about EU taxes on fossil fuels and road pricing as a means of stopping people using their cars.

Madam President,

The UK should make its own laws so I reject this proposal. But I don’t dispute that more efficient cars are a good idea or that working from home cuts down pollution.

What concerns me about this report are words like “pricing policy” and “tax on fossil fuels.” because no current serious alternatives exist and these taxes are very inflationary.

The future must be about encouraging innovation and technology, not about tricking people who have no alternative, into paying more tax.

Most public transport systems are good for the commuter but don’t fit the needs of the businessman who must drive to work in order to use the car to visit clients later.

But Madam President, The City of Strasbourg provides a first class tram system with a tram stop outside this very building. So why aren’t MEPs here in Strasbourg leading by example?

They don’t visit clients they just come here to misrule Europe.

Yet almost all of them use Chauffer driven Limousines and ignore the trams.

If MEPs complied with their own words then perhaps the public would listen? In simple English Madam President this house is guilty of gross hypocrisy.

Now what were MEPs saying about a sustainable transport system please because, like the no smoking rule in the parliament dining rooms, MEPs ignore it.

One rule no rules for them, one rule thousands of rules for us.  What a bunch of hypocrites.

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Hard Shoulders to be used as extra lane

The Department for Transport has decided to allow drivers to use the hard shoulder of motorways during busy times in a bid to ease congestion.

Great for reducing congestion because it gives you an extra lane and good for the taxpayer because it means they won’t be spending billions on widening motorways.  Not so great for the people who have an accident on the motorway – which, of course, are more common when the motorway is congested – who find that the ambulance can’t get to them because the hard shoulder is blocked with traffic.


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Changes to illegal English parking fines

The British government is changing the rules on parking fines in England.

The Northern Irish Secretary of State for Transport, Ruth Kelly, and her 3 Ministers for Transport (two of which are Scottish of course) are introducing changes to the rules in England so that variable rates of parking fines can be implemented and to remove the requirement for traffic wardens to physically attach a ticket to a vehicle meaning that tickets can be written out and issued after the offence has occurred or from CCTV images.

The problem with this is that it could take a couple of weeks for a parking ticket to eventually arrive and can you remember where you were at, say, 9.38 in the morning a week last Saturday?  I have trouble remembering what I did yesterday, let alone a fortnight ago, so how do you defend yourself?

And this still doesn’t address the core problem with the parking fines system which is that summary justice is illegal in England.  The Bill of Rights says that “and promise of fine or forfeiture before conviction is illegal and void”.

Traffic wardens and “parking attendents” are not judges, the street is not a court of law and neither is a CCTV control centre.  Parking fines are only legal if the accused has been convicted in a court of law.  We need the legal system to protect our constitutional rights, not to make it easier for companies and local authorities to issue illegal and unconstitutional on-the-spot fines.

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Fuel Tax Protests imminent?

The Road Haulage Association have agreed to back Transaction 2007 in “legal protest action”.

The price of fuel in the UK is now higher than ever and mostly thanks to the crippling amount of tax put onto it by the British government.  The average price of a liter of petrol is now over £1.00 thanks to a deferred increase in fuel duty imposed by Gordon Brown in his final budget before he was installed as Prime Minister.

Hauliers now pay 25% more than their competitors on the continent who can save so much money by filling up on cheap fuel in France that they can serve the South East of England and still undercut hauliers based in this country.  The British government is losing huge amounts of tax as these foreign companies take business away from our own hauliers.

Something must be done.  Asking nicely for a decrease in fuel duty has done nothing to help hauliers or ordinary motorists.  Last time No Mandate Brown was asked to cut fuel duty he said that we needed to concentrate on a cheap and secure oil supply to bring down prices.  Only a couple of pence from the price of fuel is down to the cost of the oil – most of it comes from refining, transport and (highest of all) tax.  The cost of fuel doesn’t just affect motorists – it affects the cost of everything you buy, whether it’s a pint of milk or a ton of bricks and that cost is passed on to the consumer.

I will support any protest action that aims to bring down the amount of tax paid on fuel and road tax but the RHA and Transport 2007 will have to be a lot cleverer than they were last time.  They lost the support of the public because they allowed the British government to spread lies and propaganda about the protests and to buy the patronage of Rupert Murdoch.  Cutting off their members and supporters, whilst undoubtedly intended to prevent the British government’s moles from getting information to help the state interefere with their protest, leaves them without the widespread support they going to need, particularly from bloggers.

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Galileo, Galileo, will you do the fandango?

Transport Ministers have approved funding of Federal Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system from the general EU budget.

The £2.4bn cost (more like £3bn once fraud and theft has been taken into account) will be met from “spare” money.  Why are we throwing billions at Federal Europe if they don’t need it all?  Why don’t they give us the “spare” part of our very generous subsidy back?

Galileo will consist of two receiving stations – one in Germany and one in Italy – and 30 mid-earth orbit satellites.

The EU Transport Commissioner, Jacques Barrot, said that “Spatial navigation is really an indication of our power amongst the countries of the world”.

As we’ve been told, repeatedly, the EU not-a-constitution will turn the EU into what is, to all intents and purposes, a country.  The aim of the EU, from when it was initially brought into being, was to create a Federal Europe.  The Schuman Declaration actually said that it was the first steps toward a European Federation.  The not-a-constitution hasn’t even been signed yet, let alone been approved in the planned Danish and Irish referenda, but the EU’s minions are already talking about the EU as a country.

Petty one-upmanship with the Americans is not only pointless and petty, but it costs the English taxpayer a fortune.  The American GPS system gives almost worldwide coverage and is free to use.  There is no need for a proprietry EU system to duplicate what is already there.

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