Tag Archives: congestion charge

Weekly War Bulletin, 3 July

US Embassy nearing £3 million in unpaid congestion charge fines.  Afghanistan owes nearly £35,000 to the boroughs in parking tickets.  The diplomats claim immunity from paying these taxes.  Because unlike water and electricity, for which they are presumably required to pay, the highway is not provided as a service, it’s a human right.

Motorists are being asked how much they should be fined for breaking the rules.  In other news, turkeys promised referendum on christmas.  They haven’t done much of a job of promoting their “consultation”, but I think I’ve tracked down the instructions here, should any of our readers wish to have their say.

In the Highlands, councillors are getting on their bikes to save money.  The Highlands.  That’s the council with the lowest population density in the UK; the biggest mountains; the convoluted coastline and isolated islands; the long wide trunk roads to nowhere; the few, slow railway lines; with harbour towns at the end of fifty mile roads and scattered crofts on single track lanes, a hundred miles from the county town.  And there are councillors in London who think it not inappropriate to drive a car around town.

Having beautified the M40 last week, 25 tonnes of rubbish on the railway at Banbury were the next target for those seeking to keep the home counties looking perfect.

Private train operating companies are asking the government to allow them to fight over the scraps of public money left to the railways.  Those that loose out can always fall back on the confusing fares fraud to raise revenue.

What did they expect of a man from Yeovil?

Allegedly there is anger at Edinburgh airport introducing a £1 — a whole one pound — charge for using their drop-off car park.  That’s the war on the Motorist, that is.

Wi-fi going down the tube?  Haven’t they been saying these things for years?  Surely it will get cut off under the terms of the digital economy act anyway?  And only at stations?  What use is that?

Three day 200 mile journey on free bus pass.

In the Congo, a speeding oil tanker driver has been involved in a collision with a village, killing 200.

The “Road Safety Foundation”, front for the AA and road lobby, gets free publicity with claim that road safety has been achieved by road construction — but that more needs to be done.

Searching the news for “crash” is an eye opener.  Just a small selection of those from this week… Three year old has severe facial injuries after crash. Elsewhere, another has head injuries.  Nine year old cyclist collides with car in Perterborough.  Pedestrian collides with lorry in Berkshire.  Van shares the road in Manchester.  Bin-man dies after bungalow collides with rubbish truck in Kent.  Tree collides with car in Warwickshire.  Tractor collides with lorry in Essex.  Railway bridge collides with double-deck school bus in Flintshire.  It’s not the only Welsh bridge playing up: there are calls for a new bridge to be constructed after a pesky grade II listed crossing has repeatedly collided with lorries and then demanded accurate reconstruction.  In Staffordshire, another grade II listed bridge has been involved in a similar incident with an 80 year old driver.  And a lorry/bridge collision in CambridgeshireIn Ealing, shopping centre roof collides with Mercedes in innocent mix-up between brake and accelerator.  Tyneside metro train hits car.  Milk tanker crashes in Wiltshire, spilling its load.  Impaled Motorist saved by four-leaf clover.  Lorry driver arrested for death of teenager.  Lorry driver arrested for death of biker.  Taxi driver charged for death by dangerous driving.  Drivers charged for deaths of pensioners.  Sir Ranulph Fiennes charged after driver seriously injured.  Traffic cop in court after causing death with sports car.  Fireman in court for crash on emergency call.  Farmer jailed for causing death by trailer.  Two year ban is the penalty for driving into pregnant woman; lorry driver who killed school kid also “spared” prison.  And finally, another cyclist hit by a truck from the Shard building site.

Just a small sample of the more interesting stories from the week.  For every one of them there is a straightforward death-on-the-road story.

But the BBC’s Nick Bryant has been exploring solutions to dangerous roads.  Pedestrians need to look where they’re going, he finds.  Stop listening to music, taking phone calls, talking to people, and looking around at the scenery; and don’t whatever you do try walking after a drink.  In other news, those seeking to end rape announce that the solution is for women to cover up and stay indoors.

Your moment of zen:

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When you start paying road tax…

The Grauniad reports that London is about to breach its annual allowance of “bad air days”.  The consequence of the city’s authorities’ impotence in preventing summer smogs is that they will be fined £300m.  Three hundred million pounds.

And four to five thousand people will die prematurely every year.

That’s twenty five times as many people as die in “collisions” on London’s roads; more even than get seriously injured.

The Guardian rightly chastise the authorities — primarily the mayor — for their hopeless incompetence in allowing such a massive preventable loss of life to occur, and for throwing away such a vast quantity of our money at a time when we’re all being told we must tighten our belts.  It was Boris’s absurd decision to reduce the congestion charge footprint, and his pointless delaying of the low emission zone introduction that are to blame, they say.  They come so close to identifying the problem.  And yet they don’t actually mention it: they don’t name the actual source of the problem.  Why do we have smogs?  The politicians are to blame for ignoring the problem, but who created the problem in the first place?

We have smogs in London because a dangerous minority of the population are invited to burn oil in our streets; because a selfish minority elect to use a singularly inappropriate method of transporting themselves across it.  We have smogs because the public has chosen to devote vast tracts of land and sophisticated expensive infrastructure to the proposition that driving into central London is acceptable behaviour.  We have smogs because London’s authorities have simply decided that what the city needs is twenty one thousand dirty diesel burning black cabs running around half empty all day, every day; needs them so much that they are to be given an even freer reign over our city than the already free reign given to private cars and trucks.

We have smogs because people don’t consider or care for the consequences of their actions.  And we have smogs because some people think that the consequences don’t matter because they’re paying for it.  “When you start paying road tax and insurance and get a number plate and MOT…”

Your and my council tax will be paying for London’s £300 million fine; a collective punishment for the selfish behaviour of the few.  Meanwhile, no amount of any tax will make it OK for five thousand Londoners to die slowly, painfully, miserably, rasping through ruined lungs.