The Impact Of Environmental Scepticism

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Lorry drivers ignoring weight restrictions on minor roads are causing “bedlam” in rural communities, the Local Government Association has said, it said councils “urgently need tougher powers” to tackle the issue.

But the government said police already had the “necessary power to take action” and it had “no plans” to give local authorities more powers. However, the LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales has said police did not always have the financial resources or manpower to enforce road weight and width restrictions, so all councils must be given powers to do so.

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The LGA now wants the power to impose fines on the drivers it calls “heavy haulage road rogues” to try to get some peace.

Driving a lorry into a road where it breaks height or weight restrictions is punishable with a fixed penalty notice of £50 – though serious cases can go to court, where penalties can be much higher.

“There has been a spate of accidents involving lorry drivers driving irresponsibly and bringing bedlam to small rural communities – and action must be taken immediately to curb this,” LGA transport spokesman Peter Box said.

“Councils are doing everything they can to help their residents, but they are trying to take action with one hand tied behind their back and urgently need tougher powers.”

‘Poor signage’

The LGA said it was seeking the same powers that Transport for London have, enabling councils to impose fines.

But John Howells, regional manager of the Road Haulage Association, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “How are you going to enforce this? In London the roads are filmed with cameras. In the country it will cost the communities a lot of money to have cameras.

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Beer truck crash

Incidents cited by the LGA include a lorry crashing into a tree in Iwade, Kent, and a 40ft articulated beer truck hitting houses and bringing down power lines in Uffculme, Devon.

In another case, a driver had to sleep in his cab for three nights in Ivybridge, Devon, after his satnav led him into a narrow lane where his lorry got stuck.

Christopher Snelling, of the Freight Transport Association, said: “We fully support enforcement of weight and width restrictions and actively help our members to adhere to these with regular updates on regulations and industry innovations.”

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “The government welcomes the fact that local authorities are taking this issue seriously and working closely with communities.

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How ironic, businesses using country roads to get to their destinations, with as many products as possible in record time. The self-same country roads that lead to the rural villages, rural cottages & converted farmhouses of many of these businessmen. One would think that these entrepreneurs would be able to afford to pay a security team to enforce these lorry load restrictions. But I forget, only police officers have the legal authority to do this, cuts have consequences don’t they?

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Hands Up Don’t Shoot In Harrow?

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“Harrow is a quiet borough but there are problems with burglary, robbery and anti social behaviour and my main focus will be to lock up those who commit crime.”

– Simon Oven, Metropolitan Police Borough Commander

The former police officer of Westminster broadcasted that reassuring message via the Harrow Observer, prior to deciding that it was a perfectly good idea to put a framework in place that would ‘discourage’ time wasting taxpayers from employing the services of the police when offences were about to be committed, and anti-social behaviour was blatantly on display. Despite this, all Harrovians should be gently reassured by the presence on our streets of younger, fitter, prettier, and more handsome police officers eager, very eager for their first promotions out of Harrow & Wealdstone er….Harrow. Watch in awe and suppressed lust as they sashay (occasionally) down the catwalk the rest of us fondly call Harrow High Street. I might add that they usually turn up when they’re not really needed, either because a Neighbourhood Champion has taken matters in hand, or simply because a street wise pensioner has.

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Am I saying that they’re no good at community policing? After the Lawrence Report heaven forfend! But looking that pretty, and over-suffused with aggression (try holding a conversation with one of them), they’re really not that much good in Harrow and though I hate to say it, maybe they’d do better for themselves engaged in public order policing on the streets of Westminster. I say this only because the former Borough Commander held onto his older, and far less pretty officers whose experienced policing kept the community relatively safe and calm. Harrow has a low crime rate for a reason, and that reason is the calm, reasoned, patient and scrupulously shrewd policing of Harrows black spots and its calmer spots by those officers who had spent YEARS patrolling its streets.

The kind of policing that has unarmed youngsters being shot in the back of cars on public highways, has never made it’s way to Harrow. Though I must confess I’m puzzled as to why our streets are being cluttered by inexperienced police officers who will bypass a petty thief on their way to go ‘shopping’ at Primark, to pick on a shirty black sixth former  hanging out at the local shopping centre. Could it be a distinct lack of continuous presence on the local community beat? The same lack of community policing presence that led to the spate of police shootings in St Louis? The worse we can expect in Harrow is a spate of copious taserings, though incidents like that will be on hold I feel certain, until the Conservative Party has attempted (and failed) to get itself re-elected.

09.01.14: Met police want water cannon by summer