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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Austere Oral Reforms

Bernard+Hogan+Howe+gD2eflT9FU3mSo I told you that we needed to be honest about dealing with the debt crisis and that doing so would mean police spending cuts. But I also told you that as Home Secretary I would be tough on crime, I would give you the powers you need to get the job done, and, as a government, we would do everything possible to maintain a strong police presence on our streets. I know many of you were sceptical. I know you meant it when you said that spending cuts would destroy the police as we know it, that the front line service would be ruined and that crime would go shooting up….and I want to take this opportunity too to remember the officers who have fallen while on duty in the last year. PC Shazahan Wadud; DC Adrian Grew; PC Andrew Duncan; and PC Mick Chapman They died serving their communities, and we honour their memory.

– Home Secretary Teresa May’s Police Federation 2014 Speech

Welcome to the Metropolitan Police Force’s new approach to making our local streets safer. Working in partnership (don’t you just love that phrase?), with our local councils, housing associations and the Department For Work & Pensions the police are smashing high level criminal gangs. High level criminals, living in our dwindling council housing and housing association supplies? High level?

I kid you not, we the general public are supposed to be profoundly reassured by the Metropolitan Police Force’s new cost-effective approach to policing. We’re not supposed to wonder why they would choose to attack crime by flinging back into our jail cells those petty thieves who have only recently been flung out of them. We’re not supposed to ponder the wisdom of raiding ‘Homes-in-Multiple-Occupation’ because of the poorly researched belief that the migrant workers living in them are drug dealers, as well as petty thieves.

Nor are we supposed to ponder the efficacy of trumpeting one’s triumphant drug raids one minute, whilst claiming that the neighbourhoods you’re policing have no appreciable drug problem the next (please see Harrow Observer). Nope, we’re supposed to be exceedingly grateful for this new cost cutting approach. That, and the increasingly significant role being played by Neighbourhood Champions in London Boroughs that were once very effectively and proudly policed.

Remember Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe? Britain’s toughest and most demanding Police Commissioner? Appointed as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in September 2011, he reflected the Home Secretary’s desire to find a “single-minded crime fighter” to lead the police force.

He is the man who introduced the Met to the slogan “Total Policing”, a mix of zero-tolerance policing and care for victims. And now the man reduced to voicing a 101 answerphone message, which reassures potential victims of crime, that their ‘non-emergency call’ will be dealt with in due course. And after you’ve listened to that, try listening to the voice of a belligerent police officer, as he or she strives aggressively to persuade you that your ‘non-emergency’ phone call is actually no policing matter of any sort.

The Little Book of Big Scams launch