Saturday, 3 September 2016

Roadworks Charges For Utility Firms Will Cut Congestion - Councils . . .


Roadworks Charges For Utility Firms Will Cut Congestion - Councils

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Councils are demanding new powers to charge utility companies a daily rate for digging up roads in a bid to reduce traffic disruption.

The Local Government Association, which represents dozens of authorities across England and Wales, is calling on the Government to act to end the gridlock faced by millions of motorists.

It wants councils to be able to introduce so-called lane rental schemes, where firms pay up to £2,000 per day for the work they do on the busiest roads at peak periods, without the need to get approval from the Transport Secretary.

The LGA believes making it easier to charge utility companies would give an added incentive to finish work as quickly as possible.

Revenue generated from the scheme would be invested in further work to reduce congestion.

LGA transport spokesman Councillor Peter Box said there is a need for "robust and decisive action" and that councils are "being hamstrung by a lack of effective powers to tackle this issue".

"Councils know their areas best and should be able to make decisions about traffic locally," he said.

"This means they need the option of being able to introduce lane rental schemes without Secretary of State approval, which is time-consuming and bureaucratic."

Only Transport for London and Kent County Council have been granted approval to run lane rental schemes.

The LGA said the scheme in London has been a major success, significantly reducing levels of severe disruption caused by roadworks.

Mr Box said: "While most utility companies are responsible and councils want to work with them, a minority do a poor job.

"Expanding the lane rental scheme nationwide would incentivise utility companies to do the job right first time around and help get our traffic moving again."

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Friday, 2 September 2016

County Kerry: Driver 'stuck in car' after getting wedged in walkway . . .


County Kerry: Driver 'stuck in car' after getting wedged in walkway

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It is believed the man spent the night in the car after it got stuck

A man has been removed from his car after it became wedged in a pedestrian-only walkway to a pier in the Republic of Ireland.

The car got stuck at Dunquin in County Kerry.

It is believed the man got stuck on Tuesday night and spent more than 12 hours in the car until a ferry crew came across him on Wednesday morning.

He was helped from the car by Irish police before it was removed at about 12:00 BST.

The pier is used for transporting people to and from the Blasket Islands, off the County Kerry coast.

Sibéal Ní Lubhaing, of Blasket Island Ferries, said staff had "never seen anyone drive that far down" the narrow and windy path.

"We were actually in awe of him, because there are couple of very sharp turns that you'd think a car could not navigate," she said.

"There's also huge signs saying 'don't drive' going down to the pier."

She said it appeared the man was in shock when staff found him early on Wednesday.

"We're not sure, but it seems like he was there from about ten o'clock on Tuesday," she said. "After he got stuck, he didn't ring anyone for help although he had a mobile phone.

"When the crews found him, he was reluctant to leave the car. I think the shock hit him and he wanted to stay in the vehicle.

"But, when he saw the police uniforms, he seemed more reassured and we were able to get him out through the boot.

"It was fairly innocent, everyone makes mistakes. Because it's our busy season there was a lot of people here this morning who saw what happened.

"But, the main thing now is that he's safe. We're happy he's OK."

Irish police confirmed that they attended the scene and helped the motorist.

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Thursday, 1 September 2016

Road haulage just keeps getting better, says RHA . . .


Road haulage just keeps getting better, says RHA

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Road haulage is a key service industry for the UK economy, keeping businesses competitive and ensuring that shops have food and goods to sell. Every year, the industry keeps improving and 2015 was its best year ever, according to the Road Haulage Association.

The latest statistics from the Department for Transport give clear evidence of the improvement. As the UK economy grew through 2015, lorries did much more work in response to increased demand from customers – but more productively.

Goods moved – the DfT’s measure of road haulage activity – rose by 12% to 152 billion tonne kilometres – but the distance travelled by lorries increased by only 9%, to 18.4 billion kilometres.

“This is a great performance by a big, diverse industry – and the reasons are dynamism and innovation,” says RHA director of policy Jack Semple.

Innovation in equipment: for example more high capacity trailers – both double-decked; and longer trailers under the Department for Transport’s trial of trailers of up to 15.65 metres (compared with a standard maximum of 13.6 metres).

Innovation in operation: with greater collaboration among hauliers through pallet networks and other collaborations, and persuading customers to allow greater vehicle sharing.

Innovation in information technology: haulage is an IT-driven industry, not only for large firms but also smaller hauliers, allowing more efficient routeing and scheduling.

“The road haulage and logistics industry is constantly innovating, although that is often overlooked. Large lorries are not only the most productive vehicles on our road but the latest Euro VI trucks are also ultra-low emission, quiet, and have the most advanced safety systems on the road,” Jack Semple continued.

“All this has been achieved despite our roads being the busiest and most congested that they have ever been. The roads are the industry’s main place of work and we need to see the roads authorities matching the industry’s improvements, if the UK economy is going to flourish," he said. 

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