2003-Nov-23
Bad Scottish
speed cameras
to be weeded out
Upto one third of speed cameras in Scotland may be removed after the Scotish Executive announced that it was to review the siting of all cameras. Concerned at growing public hostility to cameras, ministers want to make the reasons behind the placing of cameras more transparent to prove that cameras only exist at accident blackspots. Ian Latimer, chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland road policing committee fully supports the move. We await with baited breath the actions of Richard Brunstrom — his opposite number in England & Wales.

The Times — End of the road for third of Scots speed cameras
ABD — Scotland

2003-Nov-06
Paper
exposes lie
about
accident
blackspots
An investigation by the Bristol Evening Post has exposed the lies about speed cameras covering accident blackspots. The paper asked local councils for a list of the worst accident blackspots and compared them with speed camera locations. Surprise, surpise, the two lists didn't match up. Many accident blackspots are not covered by cameras, and many cameras cover roads that are not accident blackspots.
With one local authority already threatening to withdraw from the speed cameras partnership because of their refusal to supply information, and ongoing complaints about the partnership's underhand enforcement techniques, it's looking increasingly likely that the Avon & Somerset Safety Camera scam will be the first to collapse.

Bristol Evening Post — The Big Lie
ABD — Avon & Somerset

2003-Oct-30
Edinburgh
tries to do
Congestion
Charging
on the quiet
Edinburgh City Council is pushing ahead with plans to impose congestion charging despite growing opposition to the scheme. There is a consultation running on www.ititime.com, but you'd be forgiven for not knowing about it. Here's what one of our members had to say:
In the time-honoured manner of political subterfuge they've 'rebranded' the entire scam, now calling it ITI (Investing in Travel Improvements) and hidden the details on this new website. To date this is the only place I've found that gives any information, and interestingly enough, this site cannot be accessed through either the City Council or TIE websites - which speaks volumes about their perverse notion of transparency.
Initial comments must be submitted by 3rd Jaunuary 2004.

'Investing in Travel Improvements'
Edinburgh City Council
ABD — Edinburgh

2003-Oct-29
Business
Condemns
Britain's
Transport
System
The CBI has condemned Britain's inadequate transport system, and warned the government that failure to invest in transport is affecting the ability to do business.
  • 70 per cent of senior business people consider the UK transport system to be 'poor'
  • 19% of UK drivers experience congestion on a routine basis
  • Moving freight by road costs twice as much as in the Netherlands
  • Rail reliability is bettered by every major competitor surveyed except the Netherlands

CBI

2003-Oct-13
Dissent
in the
ranks
The first cracks have appeared in the safety camera scam. North Somerset Council have threatened to withdraw from the Avon & Somerset Safety Camera Partnership after councillors were denied basic information about the exact number of people caught speeding, and running costs.
Mark Canniford, a Liberal Democrat councillor for Weston-super-Mare, told the Bristol Evening Post:
"The partnership gave a presentation but they would not give us exact figures to anything. They are a public organisation and we are partners but we were not allowed to see the accounts. The shocking element is that if the partnership loses money, the taxpayer will have to pick up the tab. The whole council feels the same way about this."

Bristol Evening Post — Council's Speed Cameras Threat
ABD — Avon & Somerset

2003-Oct-06
Collins
Attacks
Labour's
Transport
Failures
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Tim Collins, has attacked the government's record on transport. Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool, Collins speech included these lines:
...we have had the smallest road-building programme since the Second World War.
 
... Conservatives believe in freedom, in a smaller state, in the unlimited potential of individuals and private enterprise. Thatís why the motorist will always be hated by the Left, and championed by the Conservatives. Itís about freedom.
 
... British motorists get the worst deal in the industrialised world.
 
... A road system which one Midlands company boss told me is unfair to call Third World - because at least in the Third World many roads are getting better.
 
...in 2001, not one inch of tarmac was added to the national road network.
 
... So generally safe, generally responsible drivers are pursued ruthlessly for every mistake they make - while the really dangerous and irresponsible drivers, those without a licence, without insurance, without a safe car are let off time and time again.
 

Read Tim Collins' full speech: Conservative Party — Collins: A fair deal on transport
BBC — Labour Roads Record Lambasted

ABD Chairman Brian Gregory was also invited to address a session at the conference.
Read his speech in full here.
2003-Oct-06
Parking
Thugs
may face
wrath of
European
Courts
George Watson, a trainee lawyer, is using the European Convention on Human Rights to fight 'decriminalised parking' which has allowed anti-parking thugs to roam many cities at will, all too often showing total disregard for the law, let alone reason. Some of the companies which run the parking scams are owned by foreign companies:
  • Edinburgh's parking scam is run by Central Parking Services Ltd the european subsidiary of Central Parking Corporation, a US company based in Nashville whose laughable slogan is "Parking Just Got Easier". They also run parking in Birmingham, Nottingham, Southend, Heathrow Airport, and parts of London. They employed the clown that had a tantrum and put a parking ticket on a rabbit hutch in Manchester: Reuters — Bunny picks up parking ticket.
  • TFM (who operate the parking scam in Enfield, Gatwick Airport, Hackney, Newham, Reading, & Westminster) is owned by Vinci Park, the British subsidiary of French company Vinci.
Warson is to claim that because the appeals service is funded by the same local authorities that operate the 'decriminalized' anti-parking scam, the whole fiasco is unjust and contrary to Article 6(1). His aim is to get parking re-regulated and taken out of the hands of foreign parasites like CPC & Vinci who view the UK government's anti-car policies as a very handy way to extort profit from British drivers.

Edinburgh Evening News — Lawyer to fight parking system
BBC — Lack of parking frustrates drivers

2003-Sep-21
Speed Humps
To Be
Flattened?
The government has instructed local authorities to review all speed humps, because of concerns about delays to emergency vehicles. Authorities must also now consult emergency services before installing any new humps. The ABD's policy on speed humps is simple — remove the lot!

The Times — Speed humps reach end of the road

2003-Aug-28
£8.3 billion
backlog
on roads
The Institution of Civil Engineers has reported that there is a £8.3 billion backlog of maintenance work on Britain's roads. This being exacerbated by local authorities spending money meant for roads on other things.

BBC — UK local roads 'deteriorate'
ICE — State of local road network still declining [pdf]

2003-Aug-25
Electronic
Vehicle
Identification
Leeches
condemned
A conspiracy between the DfT, DVLA, and ACPO is planning to fit an electronic spying device to every car in the country. 'Electronic Vehicle Identification' (EVI) is their cute name for the most insidious big brother technology yet. The nasty little leeches will simply suck money from drivers for the most trivial of infringements. But the plans don't stop there — they want to fit similar chips to mobile phones and computers. The evil plans have been widely condemned by civil liberties groups.

BBC — 'Spy' plans for new cars
The Sun — Machines will make criminal of every driver
The Times — Goodbye speed cameras, hello a spy in every car
The Times — The Informer: a car that will tell the police everything

2003-Aug-16
No sense
of humour
some people
The anti-speed fanatics are up in arms about a Honda advertisement which promotes their new 'IMA' (Integrated Motor Assist) technology. IMA ingeniously stores energy from braking, and then releases it to improve acceleration afterwards. Honda thought it would be funny to illustrate the principle using a rainbow coloured speed camera, but the anti-speed brigade have predictably thrown their rattle out of the pram. We like the idea and the advertisement so much we've given them a free plug.

Honda
BBC — Car advert hit by safety group

2003-Jul-30
Ambulances
stopped by
speed humps
£4 million worth of new ambulances are sitting idle because they can't get over the countless speed humps in the area. The Tees, East and North Yorkshire Ambulance Service Trust bought them last year, but then discovered they ground to a halt on speed humps. The ABD has called for the removal of all speed humps throughout the country.

BBC — Speed bumps ground ambulances

2003-Jul-29
Aussie
Deputy PM
questions
speed
fixation
We've discovered that earlier this year, Australian Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson ordered an enquiry into the nation's road deaths "amid concerns that safety experts might be focusing too heavily on speed". Mr Anderson stated that the road toll "has come down very well in the last decade or so, but has plateaued in recent times". Sound familiar?
Mr Anderson had earlier criticised the emphasis on speed in road safety campaigns and expressed concern it "may blind us to other causes".
Will our deputy Prime Minister do likewise we wonder?

Sydney Morning Herald — Car makers urge better road skills
Sydney Morning Herald — 'That's 65 too many': inquiry into road deaths

2003-Jul-28
Government
to treat
all drivers
as criminals
The government's passion for discriminating against, and persecuting drivers continues unabashed with plans now afoot to raise fixed penalty fines by £35. The money will be used to compensate victims of crime. Nothing wrong with compensating crime victims, but why is this fund raising exercise targeted only at motorists? Oh silly us — all drivers are criminals aren't they? So that's okay them.

The Times — Motorists face new stealth tax
The Times — Milking the motorist
BBC — Speeding fines 'to go up £35'

2003-Jul-12
Chief
Constable
condemns
obsession
with
speeding
The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Michael Todd, has told his officers to concentrate on real criminals, and stop alienating the public by over zealous prosecution of speeding offences. He stated
"I fear that if we prosecute more and more motorists and people have a perception that we are being unreasonable then there will be a backlash. We police by consent and need people to have confidence in the criminal justice system. We rely on people to report offences, to be witnesses and to be jurors in the fight against crime. Anything that undermines that support concerns me."
And so say all of us.

Manchester Online — Go easy on drivers, cops told
Greater Manchester Police
ABD — Manchester Local Issues

2003-Jul-9
Some
Sense
at last
on Roads
The government has announced plans to spend £6bn (that's about 1/7th of what they take in fuel and road tax from drivers each year) on new roads and widening schemes. Most of the M25 will be widened to four lanes, along with the M6 between Birmingham and Manchester, and sections of the M1 between London and Leeds. To appease the greens Alistair Darling has cancelled the A27 improvements and the West Midlands western bypass. They also plan to allow drivers to use the hard shoulder at peak times, an idea the ABD has condemned.

BBC — Full details of the plan
Independent — Labour plans £6bn road-building scheme
The Times — Green belt spared in £6bn plan to beat road congestion
The Times (Comment) — More tarmac means more freedom
ABD — Britain's Baulked Bypasses

2003-Jul-2
Tories
promise 80mph
and no
M4 bus lane
Shadow Transport Secretary Tim Collins has said that a future conservative government would raise motorway speed limits to 80mph where appropriate, and scrap John Prescott's bus lane on the M4. He further proposed the removal of many traffic calming schemes which impede emergency service vehicles, and an end to the abuse of speed cameras for revenue raising.

London Evening Standard — Tories pledge 80mph speed limit
Conservatives — Tim Collins MP
ABD — Motorway Speed Limit
ABD — Speed Humps

2003-Jun-20
Barnet
Dumps
The
Humps
The London Borough of Barnet has taken the courageous decision to dump all it's speed humps. Some 1000 humps will go as roads are resurfaced over the next 5 years, three streets have already been cleared. The council is also planning improvements to main roads so that drivers are no longer forced to find alternative routes through back streets to avoid the engineered congestion found across much of London. The move has been supported by ambulance drivers.

Contrast these two press articles...
Daily Mail — Plan to end road bumps
BBC — Council to scrap speed humps
...and make your own judgement about reporting bias.
Barnet London Borough
Speed Humps

2003-May-27
Lincs Police
charge Ambulance
with 'speeding'
Lincolnshire Police have taken the obsession with speed to new heights. They have charged an ambulance driver with 'speeding' after he was snapped by speed cameras at 104 mph. Ambulance Driver Mike Ferguson was delivering vital transplant organs from West Yorkshire to Cambridge in an ambulance with blue lights flashing. Cambridgeshire Police rightly decided to take no action after one of their speed cameras snapped the ambulance, but Lincolnshire Police have clearly totally lost the plot.
Mr Ferguson is a senior ambulance driver with a 36 year unblemished record.

BBC — 'Speeding' ambulance driver charged.
Lincolnshire Police
West Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service
ABD — Lincolnshire

2003-May-20
Wellington
Gatso gets
the boot
Shropshire's first speed camera lasted only five weeks before someone decided he'd had enough. A man sent the camera in Wellington to an early grave using a circular saw. Despite having only been in place for 5 weeks, over 2,500 drivers had been caught. A police appeal for witnesses to the destruction has failed to draw any response, maybe they should ask themselves why.

Daily Telegraph — Driver with circular saw snaps speed camera

2003-May-19
Greens
wiped out
in Belgian
elections
Voters in Belgium's general election have sent the greens packing. The Green party lost 11 seats leaving them with just four, and resulting in the loss of their seat in the governing coalition. Green campaigns against night flights, arms exports, and tobacco advertising (which resulted in the removal of the Belgian Grand Prix from the F1 calendar) are believed to have shown voters their true credentials. Rumours that the popular Spa circuit could be put back into the F1 calendar are now rife.

BBC — Belgian voters ditch Greens

2003-May-11
Higher Speeds
in Norway cause
Fewer Accidents
An increase in the speed limit on some main roads in Norway has resulted in a reduction in the number of accidents. Finn Harald Amundsen of the Norwegian state highway department said
"We think drivers drive better and more steadily at limits they themselves are more satisfied with."
Speed limits on three major routes (E6 Oslo – Swedish border, E6 Oslo – Gardermoen airport, E18 Drammen–Toensberg) were recently raised from a frustratingly low 90kph (55mph) to 100kph (62mph).

Aftenposten — Higher speed limits result in fewer accidents.

2003-Mar-28
Voting
for
Parking
Over-zealous enforcement of parking restrictions in Edinburgh has inspired the creation of a new political party that will fight in the May elections. Fed up with the anti-car money-grabbing bully-boy attitude of present councillors, people are starting to stand up for themselves. It is a trend we hope to see repeated throughout the country.

The Scotsman — Parking party to fight city election
The Scotsman — Candidates put parking first
The Residents Parking Party
Edinburgh City Council's pathetic attempt to justify their actions
 
 UPDATE  Election Results analyzed

2003-Mar-20
Increasing
Solar Radiation
may be cause of
Global Warming
A NASA funded study has found that the amount of solar radiation the sun emits, during times of quiet sunspot activity, has increased by nearly 0.05% per decade since 1970.
Richard Willson, lead author of the study said "This trend is important because, if sustained over many decades, it could cause significant climate change. Historical records of solar activity indicate that solar radiation has been increasing since the late 19th century. If a trend, comparable to the one found in this study, persisted throughout the 20th century, it would have provided a significant component of the global warming the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports to have occurred over the past 100 years"

NASA — Study Finds Increasing Solar Trend That Can Change Climate

2003-Mar-16
"monumental,
spectacular,
cack-handed
incompetence"
Tim Collins MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, has launched a vitriolic attack on the government. Describing Labour's record on transport as "monumental, spectacular, cack-handed incompetence", he went on to say:—
"Nowhere is Labour's underlying socialist bigotry against the individual more evident than in their almost pathological hatred of the motorist."
and confirmed what we in the ABD have known for years, that:—
"British drivers are the most abused, insulted and downright persecuted in Europe."

Conservatives — Time to call off Labour's war on the motorist

2003-Mar-15
So much
for taking
the train
The Observer has reported that 'Thousands' of daily train services could be scrapped, and some lines closed altogether, in order to control spiralling maintenance costs. The admission came from rail regulator Tom Winsor.
It follows a warning from the head of a government think-tank, Keith Madelin, who stated that 10% of the UK's scheduled train services may have to go.

The Observer — Rail network set for further cuts

2003-Mar-01
You won't
forget to
sign the form
will you?
A driver from North Wales who was caught by a speed camera has been found not guilty by Flintshire magistrates at Mold because he neglected to sign a form.
Phillip Dennis neglected to sign the Notice of Intended Prosecution form in which he named himself as the driver of the vehicle - meaning the document was inadmissible as evidence.
The case has highlighted a loophole in the law — the law requires you to identify who was driving the car*, but there's no legal requirement to sign the form, if you don't turn up in court you can't be questioned, the form is presented by the prosecution, but it's inadmissible so the case is thrown out.
The police have apparently known about this loophole for years, but have kept quite hoping nobody would notice.

The Times
The Western Mail — Speed camera loophole exposed
ABD Local Issues — North Wales
Pepipoo — Loophole Clarification Letter
*Right to Silence
Safe Speed — Unsigned Forms

2003-Feb-17
Wrong Limit
for 15 Years
Solihull Council have admitted that a 30mph speed limit that has been in force for 15 years should have been a 40mph limit. Drivers prosecuted for exceeding the limit may have recourse to compensation and removal of any points on their licence. The road in question is the B4118 between Castle Bromwich and Water Orton which crosses the M6 on the north-eastern outskirts of Birmingham.

BBC news article

2003-Feb-9
Italy
ups the
Limit
The speed limit on Italian 3 lane motorways is to be raised from 130 km/h to 150 km/h (93mph) from 1st January 2004. Italian transport minister Pietro Lunardi stated "All psychologists and doctors say people who go faster drive better and are more careful. Only 9% of fatal accidents were caused by speeding. Where it is safe to go faster, it is the right thing to do."

Story from the Sunday Times
(Site requires that you register)

2003-Jan-28
Speed
Humps
Kill!
Sigurd Reinton, chairman of the London Ambulance Service, has accused speed humps of being responsible for hundreds of deaths each year because of the delay they impose upon ambulances.
"For every life saved through traffic calming, more are lost because of ambulance delays." he said.
Every minute of delay causes the death of up to 800 cardiac arrest victims in London - compared with 300 deaths in traffic accidents each year.

Story from the London Evening Standard
ABD — Speed Humps

2003-Jan-12
Unions
to take on
Ken
Legal action against Ken Livingstone's anti-car 'congestion charge' in London is being taken by several unions. They are alleging that the consultation process was flawed and did not consult those who would be affected.
The ABD would point out that many of those who drive into London do not live in London and therefore had no opportunity to vote against Ken Livingstone and his anti-car plans. So much for democracy.

The Observer
Commentary by lawyer Stephen Alexander
ABD — London local issues


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